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Get to know your rights under the FMLA

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2024 | Family And Medical Leave Act (fmla)

Understanding your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is important. You’re busy and you likely don’t have time to familiarize yourself with every employment law that may apply to you someday. However, given that life’s unpredictable moments can suddenly become truly pressing at any moment, getting to know this law – ideally before you need it – is a uniquely good idea.

Enacted in 1993, the FMLA aims to help employees manage their work and family life by providing the opportunity to take legally protected unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. Knowing the scope and limitations of FMLA can empower you to make informed decisions about taking leave without fear of losing your job.

What does the FMLA do?

This federal law entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for the following reasons:

  • The birth and care of a newly born child
  • Adoption or foster care placement of a minor child
  • Caring for an immediate family member (spouse, child or parent) with a serious health condition
  • Managing a worker’s own serious health condition that has rendered them unable to work

To be eligible for FMLA benefits you must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months, have clocked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave and be employed at a location where the company employs 50 or more people within 75 miles.

Upon return from FMLA leave, employees must be restored to their original job or to an equivalent job with equivalent pay, benefits and other employment terms and conditions. This protection is the bedrock purpose of the FMLA, and it can be life-affirming and stabilizing for those workers who need to take advantage of the opportunities it provides.

There are specific protocols that must be followed in order to preserve one’s rights when taking FMLA leave. Therefore, if you ever find that you’re in need of this kind of protection, it can help to seek legal guidance to learn more.


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