Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
If you are suffering from a serious medical condition or need to care for a family member who is suffering from a serious medical condition, the FMLA may allow you to take up to 12 weeks of leave from your job. Also, if your employer has provided you with health care coverage and you are eligible for protected medical leave under the FMLA, your employer must continue your health insurance coverage during your medical leave. Although the FMLA does not require your employee to pay you during your medical leave, your employer must return you to your previous job or a substantially similar job, if you are able to return to your job within 12 weeks.
To be eligible for protection under the FMLA, you must satisfy certain requirements. First, you need to have worked for your employer for at least 12 months. Second, you need to have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months preceding your request for medical leave. Third, your employer must employ at least 50 employees within 75 miles of where you work.
If your medical leave is foreseeable, you must provide your employer with at least 30 days notice of your intention to take FMLA leave, unless your medical treatment requires you to take leave within 30 days, in which case you must provide your employer with notice of your intention to take FMLA as is practicable. Although a written request for FMLA is not necessary, you should always request leave in writing by providing a letter or other form to your employer that specifically requests “FMLA leave.” Also, you should always ask your employer if it requires you to complete specific forms or follow specific procedures for requesting FMLA leave or for staying in contact with your employer while on leave.
For more information on how the FMLA protects you in the workplace, visit http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/.