Asserting your rights to family and medical time off work

No matter what your job may be, you are a person like everyone else, and you deserve to have your rights as a person protected. One of the measures that seeks to protect employees rights to lead a normal human life that includes family and loved ones is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under the FMLA, an employee is entitled to take of time from work to address both family and medical emergencies without fear of losing his or her job.

Under the FMLA, the employees may generally take up to 12 weeks off from a job for family or medical issues, but not all circumstances are treated equally. In broad strokes, the act covers three areas. Employees may take time off for their own medical issues that affect their job performance, and may also take time off to address the serious medical issues of a family member with a serious medical problem. Also, an employee may take time off to deal with a new child in the family — either through birth or through adoption or fostering.

Whatever your reason to invoke the FMLA may be, it is important to check with your company and with an experienced attorney before you take time off. In some cases, your employer may not consider your claim valid, but an attorney may help you demonstrate that your claim falls under the FMLA guidelines. However you choose to move forward, be sure to document your situation as completely as possible, to avoid further challenges to the claim's validity.

Not all claims justify invoking the FMLA, so you may want to enlist the guidance of an experienced attorney who can help you understand the nuances of your situation. If you believe that your employer is unfairly refusing to honor your request, or if you face unfair consequences for invoking your rights, do not hesitate to seek professional legal counsel to defend your rights and protect your job.

Source: Findlaw, "Reasons That Qualify For FMLA Leave," accessed March 10, 2017

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