The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) helps people with personal challenges protect their careers. The FMLA allows an individual to take unpaid leave when they have health challenges or when they need to support their loved ones through some kind of medical issue.
Most individuals requesting leave under the FMLA will receive, at most, 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year. However, in one very specific scenario, FMLA leave can last for up to 26 weeks. Who qualifies for a longer absence than the typical worker under the FMLA?
There are special rules for families of servicemembers
When a family member needs support due to surgery or chemotherapy treatment that will leave them struggling with daily tasks, the FMLA helps. A spouse, child or parent of an individual with a major medical issue can obtain unpaid leave through the FMLA to help support a loved one with medical challenges.
If that individual is an active-duty servicemember, the maximum amount of leave available increases from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. Someone can effectively take half a year away from their job to care for a loved one who serves in the military while they recover from an injury or illness. People in any other situation will be subject to the standard 12-week limit for FMLA leave imposed in almost all circumstances.
Workers can use unpaid leave instead of or in addition to paid leave provided by their employers. Learning more about the FMLA and other worker protection statutes may benefit those who want to preserve their careers despite facing some kind of personal challenge.