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When can I qualify for family medical leave?

Everything was fine at work, and you were making plenty of money to support your family -- until you got sick. That's when your financial situation went from stable to precarious -- because you had to take a significant amount of time off of work.

You're better now, however, and you're ready to return to the office. The problem is, your employer says you shouldn't bother coming back. During your sick leave, they gave your job to someone else, and now they don't want you back. Can your employer do that?

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), your employer may be legally required to reserve your position -- or one of equal level and pay -- so that you can return to work when you get better. Here are the situations in which you have the right to receive FMLA protections:

  • If you contract a serious medical condition that causes you to be unable to work.
  • If your immediate family member is ill and requires your assistance to care for him or her.
  • If you need to care for your child, possibly because he or she is a newborn baby.
  • If you have received an adopted or foster care child into your home.
  • If you, your spouse or child are called to active duty with the National Guard or Reserve and you need to carry out family responsibilities.

If one of the above situations applies to you, you might be able to take unpaid leave from work with the guarantee of returning to your former job. By speaking with an employee rights attorney in California, you can find out more information concerning your FMLA rights in this regard.

Source: FindLaw, "What is FMLA? FAQ on Federal Leave Law," accessed Aug. 22, 2017

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