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Must-know information about the Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act was created to give workers more rights in California and across the United States, but the reality is that many workers don’t know what the act does or how it impacts them, and they could be forfeiting rights without knowing it. Below are a few key pieces of information that you should know.

1. You can take time off to care for someone else.

The act doesn’t just give you time off for yourself if you have a medical condition, but also grants you time off if you need to care for someone in your family who has a serious issue. It must be an immediate family member. You can take as many as 12 weeks off during a year.

2. You can take those 12 weeks for yourself, as well.

As you may have expected, the 12 weeks of time off can also be used to help you recover from your own medical condition.

3. Time off can be used to bond with a child.

The Department of Labor recognizes the importance of bonding with a child after it is born or adopted, and you can use the time off as extended parental leave. You can also use it if you are welcoming a new foster child into your home.

4. The time off doesn’t have to be paid.

The one downside for employees is that the time off does not have to be paid time off. You are just given the right to take time away from the office; whether your employer decides to keep paying you over this time depends on your contract and what your employer wants to do.

Source: US News, “6 Things You Need to Know About the Family and Medical Leave Act,” Jada A. Graves, accessed Dec. 23, 2015

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