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Frequently asked questions about the Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows workers to take time off for medical issues without risking their jobs or health insurance benefits. Understanding the details of this act is crucial to ensure employees know their rights and can recognize when they’ve been violated. The United States Department of Labor answers the following questions, which can help you access the necessary leave if you or a loved one falls ill.

Who Is Eligible for FMLA?

There are four different criteria use to determine eligibility. First and foremost, a worker must have been employed for at least one year, although the time doesn’t need to be consecutive. Additionally, the employee must have worked a total of 1,250 hours during that year. The third and fourth considerations are whether the employer is covered by prevailing wage and hour laws, and if the employer has at least 50 workers within a 75-mile radius.

Will I Receive Pay While on Leave?

FMLA is usually unpaid. However, in some cases either the employer or employee can use existing leave (such as vacation time) in place of unpaid leave. When this occurs, the leave is still protected under FMLA guidelines (meaning employers can’t fire a worker or take away health insurance benefits for missing too much time from work).

What Are Some Reasons Why I Can Take Leave?

The onset of a serious illness affecting the worker or a loved one of the worker is considered acceptable when requesting leave. Additionally, leave can also be requested when after the birth of a new child or after the worker adopts a child. Leave can also be used in the event a family member of a worker is called to active duty in the armed forces. Employees have 12 weeks of leave available for the above circumstances.

 

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