The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is in place to provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for a qualifying condition, such as the birth of a child or to care for an ill spouse.

To take advantage of FMLA benefits, you must first determine if you’re eligible. If you are, it’s time to take a few key steps.

First off, you’re required by law to provide a 30-day advance notice when practicable. It’s not always possible, and in that case, you should provide notice to your employer as soon as possible.

Also, you must provide information to the employer so that they can determine whether the requested leave is covered by FMLA.

Will you receive pay during FMLA leave?

The FMLA does not require paid leave, so you should not expect to receive your normal paycheck during this time. However, the law does permit you to use paid vacation leave or sick time for some or all of your leave, thus allowing you to receive your pay.

Your employer may also require you to use vacation or paid sick time before FMLA kicks in.

Taking FMLA leave doesn’t have to be a hassle. As long as you know what’s expected of you and how to proceed, everything should come together.

Unfortunately, there are times when an employer fights back against FMLA leave, thus making life even more difficult on the employee. If this happens to you, learn more about your legal rights and how to hold your employer responsible for breaking the law.