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FMLA Benefits

Excessive absenteeism is grounds for termination in many professions. However, sometimes you have to take time off from work to recover from an illness or injury or to provide care for a family member. How can you meet your obligations without jeopardizing your position and the health insurance that you derive from it?

Nearly 30 years ago, the federal government recognized the difficulties that can arise in such a situation. In 1993, it enacted the Family Medical Leave Act. You can qualify for FMLA benefits if you have worked a certain number of hours for your employer for at least 12 months, not necessarily consecutively, and your employer has at least 50 people on the payroll on a regular basis.

What Benefits Can You Claim Under FMLA?

If your situation qualifies for FMLA benefits, you can claim up to 12 weeks of leave from your job every year. You can use the time off to tend to your own medical condition or that of a close family member, e.g., parents, spouse, children.

During the time that you have off, your employer must save your job for you and allow you to return to it after your leave is over. You cannot lose your job for taking FMLA leave, and your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you in other ways for exercising your rights. Your employer must also maintain your health insurance benefits under FMLA.

What Are the Limitations to FMLA?

Your employer is not required to extend you more than 12 weeks of FMLA leave per year. FMLA only offers you unpaid leave, which means your employer is not necessarily required to pay you for the time you take off. However, if you have paid time off available, you can apply that to your FMLA leave if desired.

What Conditions Qualify for FMLA?

If you have a serious health condition for which you require time off, you can claim FMLA benefits. You can also claim FMLA if you need to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition. Only spouses, parents, and children are immediate family members under FMLA, and children generally have to be minors unless their condition prevents them from performing self-care. You can also use FMLA leave following the birth of adoption of a child.Contact our office if you have questions about FMLA and your eligibility.

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