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Are you eligible for Family and Medical Leave?

If you are expecting a child, facing surgery or dealing with an illness you expect will sideline you from work for some time, you may have concerns about how to approach your boss for time off. Perhaps you know that the amount of time you need off will place your job in jeopardy, and this may be the worst possible time to lose your income.

Fortunately, if your job employs at least 50 people and you have worked there for 12 months or more, you may qualify for time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act. This federal law provides job security to those who need to step away from their jobs temporarily to deal with matters of health or family.

What does FMLA provide?

FMLA provides time off work, typically unpaid, in case of illness or other family situations, including:

  • You and your spouse are having or adopting a child.
  • You are too ill to work.
  • Your parent, spouse or minor child is ill and needs your care.
  • Your spouse, parent or child is about to deploy for military service.
  • You need time off to take care of personal or family matters related to a loved one's deployment.

If you are in a situation where you know you will need time off, such as having or adopting a baby, or a surgery you have scheduled in the near future, you will need to apply for your leave 30 days or more before the time you need off. However, if something comes up suddenly, like a sick child or your own sudden health crisis, you should notify your employer as soon as you can.

Violations of FMLA

While you are away from work, you can rest in the security that your job or a similar position will be waiting for you when you return. The law prevents your employer from firing or demoting you. You will not lose your health benefits, seniority or paid time off. While these may make things challenging for your employer, it is a violation of FMLA law for you to experience any kind of retaliation because you exercised your right to FMLA benefits.

Nevertheless, if your employer denies you the rights for which you qualify under Family and Medical Leave or takes negative actions against you because of your request for leave, you have a right to fight back. You can begin by reaching out to a California attorney who can review your case and fight for what you deserve.

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