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What to know about FMLA

By law, many employees are entitled to leave based on the Family and Medical Leave Act, commonly known as FMLA. Unfortunately, not every employee is aware of this. If you are unsure what FMLA is, getting answers to the questions you have will help you to better understand it. Here are a few frequently asked questions about FMLA.

What is FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Act allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave when a new child is born, when a child is adopted, when a spouse or parent needs to be cared for because of a serious injury, or when the employee is unable to work due to a serious injury. During this time, you cannot be fired because of your inability to work and your job will be held for you. Your employer will need to be provided with proof that you are using FMLA for one of these options though, so be prepared to show a birth certificate or provide medical documentation.

When Is an Employee Eligible for FMLA?

In order for an employee to be eligible for FMLA, they must have worked at least 12 months and 1250 hours in the year leading up to the leave being taken. The company also must have at least 50 employees within 75 miles of your jobsite. This rule was put into place to protect small businesses who can't afford for their employees to miss 12 weeks of work.

What If an Employee's Right to Use FMLA Has Been Violated?

If you ask to use FMLA and are denied, or your job is terminated while you are out on FMLA because of your leave, you may be able to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against your employer. You can also file a complaint with the Department of Labor, who can issue fines against your employer. Speak with a lawyer if you feel your rights have been violated to determine how to go about filing a complaint or bringing a lawsuit about.

FMLA allows you to do what is right for you or your family when they need you most without fear of losing your job. Learning about FMLA will help you to learn what it is, when you are eligible for it and what happens if your employer does not allow you the right to use it.

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