September 25, 2021

How To Take Family Leave From Your Job

If you are facing a situation that requires you to devote a considerable amount of time to the care of a family member, be it a child or adult, you will need to familiarize yourself with how to take family leave from your job. In many situations it is possible to be granted time off from work under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Family Leave

This is a relatively new law on that statute books, it only came into place in 1993, it was drawn up to ensure that employees can have a break from their career when a family member needs personal care without the fear of being made unemployed. Before you start to feel a big weight has been lifted off your shoulders it would be useful to explore the FMLA in more detail as you and your employer may not automatically fit the criteria.

To start with, if your employer is in the public sector, for example a local, state or federal agency the rules are more accommodating, if on the other hand you are employed in the private sector the company needs to employ a minimum of fifty people for them to be legally obliged to grant leave under the FMLA.

As the employee you are expected to have held the position for at least twelve months and in that time have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours. The location of the workplace must fall within the geographic boundaries of the US or its overseas territories.

If you do not fit the criteria then the employer does not have to grant any leave relating to the FMLA, this is not to say unpaid leave will not be offered but it will be done so only at the goodwill of the employer and not through any legally binding regulation.

If as an employee your employer does match the eligibility requirements you can be given unpaid leave for a fixed period of time. When asking for FMLA leave relating to the ill health of a family member, the individual in question must have no other carer and be an immediate family member such as a spouse, parent or child of the person applying for the time off.

If the employee has been able to accrue paid vacation leave it is theoretically possible to use this leave alongside the FMLA. This is a useful option as it would help in providing some amount of income during the time when work is not possible. The employer would be under no obligation to make any payments if no vacation leave has been built up.

It is worth noting that if the employee has a comprehensive health insurance plan for themselves and their dependants through the employer this will still be enforced during the dates when the FMLA is enacted. This is an important concept to be aware of as it can be used to help pay for any medical bills relating to the illness of the individual in question which otherwise would have caused an even greater degree of hardship.

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