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What you Need to Know About the Family and Medical Leave Act

Sept. 14, 2021

If you have to take time off from work to take care of yourself or a loved one who is seriously sick, you should be able to take time off work. Stress resulting from the thought of imminent job loss may exacerbate your condition and circumstances. This is where the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) comes in.

What is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) ensures that US employees are allowed up to 12 weeks of leaves per year and can take them without losing their jobs. Additionally, the Act also ensures group health benefits are unutilized during the leaves.

In other words, the FMLA helps employees maintain a balance between their work and family responsibilities. The Act also facilitates equal work opportunities for men and women and accommodates valid employer interests.

The Act applies to all organizations and private and public schools with at least 50 or more than 50 employees. Employees should receive 12 days of unpaid leaves per year for the following reasons:

  • To tend to seriously sick or injured immediate family members such as a child, parent, or spouse.

  • To give birth and care for a newborn child.

  • To adopt a child or to provide foster care to a child

  • To recover from a severe illness.

Where FMLA Applies And Where It Doesn’t

The FMLA doesn't cover all companies. As mentioned before, only those with at least 50 or more than 50 employees can grant their employees this leave. Additionally, if your employer is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, that doesn’t mean you have coverage.

To become eligible for the FMLA, you have to work for the company for at least a year for 1,250 work hours. Additionally, it would be best if you also work at a location where your employer has over 50 or more than 50 employees to be eligible. They can also be within a 75-mile radius to ensure your eligibility.

How to Apply for FMLA Leaves

Employees who wish to take an FMLA leave need to give prior notice to their employers. If, for instance, taking the leave is imminent (for surgery or to give birth, for example), you have to submit your notice 30 days beforehand.

If you find out you need to take the leave within this duration or urgently (to take care of an injured family member, for instance), submit your notice as soon as possible. Adhere to your employer’s call-in procedures unless you are incapable of doing so.

If you are denied leaves under the FMLA, you have grounds to sue your employer and receive the compensation you deserve. Your word may not be enough, and your employer/the insurance company will do everything in their power to come out on top.

At Michael T. Smith & Associates, we have skilled employment lawyers in Chicago who will ensure your rights are protected at a time when you are at your most vulnerable.

We are not afraid to get aggressive if it comes down to it! Get in touch with us at our Schaumburg, IL offices for a consultation today!