Four Important Things Employees Should Know About FMLA

FMLAThe Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a law that has been in place for quite some time, yet not everyone fully understands what qualifies under the act. Here are five things that you should know if you qualify under FMLA regulations, so you better understand how the law can be used to your advantage.

Circumstances for Taking Time Off under FMLA

There are specific reasons listed in the act that allows you to take time off from work for up to 12 weeks without pay. They include the following;

  • If you, your spouse, child, or parent suffer a serious medical condition
  • Birth and care of newborn infants
  • Placement or care of adopted or foster care child
  • You, your spouse, child, or parent has been called to active duty in support of contingency operation

The final qualification was added in 2009, but the remaining have been in place since FMLA was first passed.

  • What Qualifies for 12 Months of Employment?

While the language of the act states that the person must be employed for 12 months, that period does not mean consecutively. In other words, if you have been employed by the same company for 12 months with separations that last no longer than 7 years, then that qualifies under FMLA laws. However, you cannot qualify for the 12 weeks of leave if you have taken it within the past year, so keep that in mind before you consider it for another use.

  • What About Children Over 18

Legally, a child over 18 is no longer a minor. However, it still is possible to use FMLA to take care of your child regardless of age if they cannot take care of themselves because they have a serious medical condition. So, it is possible to apply FMLA to adult children depending on the circumstances, but consider that the child may qualify for FMLA themselves depending on their employment status.

  • Taking Care of a Senior or Loved One

You can use FMLA leave to take time off and care for a spouse, child, or parent for up to 12 weeks without putting your employment at risk. This means that if someone close to you needs attention, you can take up to three months off without pay under FMLA. In fact, FMLA was designed for this very purpose, to allow you to take time off from work so you can care for a sick or injured loved one.

  • Can FMLA Be Covered with Other Leave?

Yes, if it falls under what the employer provides. This usually means if your employer has maternity or paternity leave or workman’s compensation that applies to the reasons why you need to take time off. So, talk to your employer and see what qualifies under the requirements.

The Family and Medical Leave Act is designed to fill the gap in employer coverage while protecting your employment in case you need to take time away from work. Be sure to fully consult with your employer and check the FMLA regulations before acting.

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