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What qualifies as leave under FMLA?

When a personal situation arises that is outside your control, your entire world may come to a screeching halt. No matter what the circumstances, sometimes life makes it impossible to go about your business as usual.

When something occurs in your personal life, do you know what your employer can do to help? The federal government created the Federal Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to help employees out when certain personal situations arise. Does your issue fit the criteria?

What is FMLA?

FMLA allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave from their jobs. It protects them by forcing the employer to hold their position or a similar one until the employee can return and resume normal function. An employer with 50 or more workers within 75 miles must offer FMLA. Employees qualify if they have worked for at least 12 consecutive months or 1,250 hours in the previous year.

What events trigger FMLA?

If you experience one of the following, and you fit the minimum employment qualifications, you should get leave under FMLA. The first is when a severe medical condition or illness strikes. The requirements include:

  • A basic description of the duties performed at work must go to the doctor
  • The doctor provides a medical condition verification
  • The employer may request up to three medical opinions
  • The employer may ask for updates during leave

If you are not the person in crisis but have to care for the person who is, you may qualify under the personal leave provision. Some of the situations include caring for:

  • An adopted child
  • A foster child
  • A newborn (not maternity leave)
  • A family member (employer needs verification)

When you face a crisis, the last thing you want to do is worry about having a job when it passes. If the criteria for FMLA apply, then taking the time you need will hopefully help alleviate some stress.

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