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3 benefits afforded by the Family Medical Leave Act

You might know that the Family Medical Leave Act lets you take time off when you have a baby. It also lets qualified employees take time off for other medical matters or to assist an immediate relative with a medical need, but it doesn't guarantee you'll be paid during that time off. The FMLA is meant to protect someone's job and ensure they can return once the medical urgency has been taken care of.

Specifically, FMLA requires the employer to restore you to your position – or a position that is deemed equal to your old position. While most people return to work in their old title, some do not. Your employer might have made changes to business structure while you were out that did away with the old position or reorganized departments. In such cases, you simply have to be restored to a similar position with similar pay.

FMLA also ensures that any existing health care coverage you have with an employer group plan remains intact while you are on leave. The employer might accomplish this by taking your normal premium share from any vacation or leave pay made to you, or they might work with you to take those payments from future paychecks.

The Act also ensures that you retain any employment benefits that you'd accrued before you leave. For example, if you earn a year of vacation for each year that you work, and you work two years before taking an extended FMLA leave, the employer cannot start you back like a new employee and only allow a week of vacation.

If you are covered under FMLA, these are legal rights. If you believe your rights are being infringed upon or your FMLA claim incorrectly denied, then consider speaking with an employment law professional about your options.

Source: Boston University, "Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)," accessed Aug. 12, 2016

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