Employees may sometimes find themselves in a situation where they need to take a leave of absence. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) helps establish rules that protect both employers who need their staff members to be present and workers who require a temporary leave of absence.
The FMLA applies to employees who have been with a company of a certain size for at least 12 months. When can workers request FMLA leave?
When they have a medical issue
The most obvious reason a worker might need FMLA leave is because they have a medical issue that requires treatment or rest. Someone who requires treatment or time to recover from an injury can seek unpaid leave under the FMLA.
When an immediate family member has a medical issue
Sometimes, a worker is perfectly healthy but someone in their family has a medical issue. Perhaps their child was in a car crash and requires care until they are out of the cast. Maybe their parent just had to have hip replacement surgery.
Employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for the medical needs of a family member or up to 26 weeks of leave if that family member is a qualifying military service member.
When they add a new member to the family
The FMLA rules also apply to families that have grown due to the addition of a new child. New parents can take FMLA leave after birth. The same leave options are available to those who have recently had a child placed in their home for foster care or who have adopted a child.
Understanding when FMLA leave is an option can help employees protect their jobs and the people they love. It’s wise to learn more about it and your rights under it.