The government may have you covered if you are facing a family crisis that pulls you away from work. The Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, is a set of guidelines that protect employees who may have to remain away from work in certain situations.
The first step in utilizing FMLA is understanding what and who it covers.
Who is eligible?
The eligibility for FMLA rests on two major factors. The first has to do with the size of the workforce. Your company must employ 50 or more people in a 75-mile radius. The second prong of eligibility hinges on how long you have worked there. If you have maintained employment with the same company for one year and worked 1,250 hours in that time.
What can you take off for?
Under FMLA, you may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work for the following reasons:
- To care for a newborn
- To care for a newly-placed adopted child
- To care for a sick family member, such as a spouse, parent or child
- To care for yourself if sick or injury
- To care for a returning military spouse who needs medical assistance
You may take the time all at once or over one year.
What does FMLA do?
The purpose of FMLA is to allow you to care for people and still have a job to return to. Employers must keep your job or one of equal pay open for your return.
If you are an eligible employee, your employer must allow you to take FMLA without consequences. You have the right to seek help if you face an adverse reaction.