Very often in the workplace, it can feel like you are performing a balancing act between your work responsibilities and your personal responsibilities. Making decisions about when, and if, you should request leave is always challenging because you may fear the consequences of missing work.
Luckily, the law protects leave under certain circumstances and you should know those specific circumstances.
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act an employer must provide up to 12 weeks of leave to employees who have a “serious health condition” or employees whose qualified family member has a “serious medical condition.”
How do I know if I qualify for leave under the FMLA?
An employee (or qualified family member) with a serious health condition is eligible for leave under the FMLA if their employer regularly employs more than 50 people within a 75-mile radius, and the employee has worked for their employer for at least 12 months, and during that year worked at least 1,250 hours.
Who is a Qualified Family Member?
Generally, an employee’s children, spouse or parents qualify.
How do I request medical leave?
The employee must notify the employer that they or an immediate family member has a “serious health condition”, or provide information that the employer would suspect is a serious health condition. Typically, this can be done by requesting FMLA paperwork through the human resources department.
Do I have to take all 12 weeks or can it be intermittent?
As long as your leave has been approved, you can use the leave as needed and it does not have to be for 12 consecutive weeks.
Does my employer have to hold my position?
Generally, yes. The purpose of the FMLA is to protect employee’s jobs while they deal with medical issues. However, employers do not have to hold your jobs if it poses a undue burden on the business.
If I have paid time off can my employer make me use that before FMLA?
Yes. Unless otherwise agreed, your employer can require you to use up paid time off before you begin FMLA leave.
Do I still get paid while on FMLA leave?
No. an employer is not required under the FMLA to pay you while you are on protected leave. However, if you and your employer agree beforehand in writing, it may be enforceable.