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Key aspects of the Family and Medical Leave Act

Many workers want to be able to take leave from their jobs when needed. This may be for medical reasons, and it may be for family reasons. Either way, they should learn about the Family and Medical Leave Act, so they can know their rights and responsibilities when it comes time to put in for leave.

Knowledge is power, and the more workers know, the more they can confidently pursue what they're entitled to under the law. They can also know their obligations, so they don't do anything that can imperil their employment. There are some important specific things to know.

First, you should understand that it is a federal law, so it applies to every state in the nation. It was first enacted in 1993, and gives workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during each 12-month period. This can be taken to take care of your own needs if you have a serious medical condition or to take care of a family member who has one.

You can also use leave under the FMLA for birth and bonding. This refers to extended parental leave at the time of your baby's birth. It also applies for the adoption of a child and for taking care of a foster child.

You should also know that there are restrictions on who is eligible. For one thing, you will need to have worked for the same employer for 12 months before asking for the leave. You will also need to have worked a certain number of hours in that 12 months.

Of course, it is important to understand all of the conditions that apply to taking leave under the FMLA. A qualified attorney can review what you are eligible for with you and how to help you get it if your employer refuses to abide by this federal law.

Source: US News, "6 Things You Need to Know About the Family and Medical Leave Act" Jada A. Graves April 4, 2013 | 11:00 a.m. EDT, Oct. 17, 2014

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