Some employees in the United States benefit from certain privileges under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This law specifically protects the jobs of workers employed at firms with 50-plus employees (within a radius of 75 miles) as well as workers employed by private and public schools and public agencies.
Under the law, these employees can take as many as 12 unpaid weeks of leave annually in the event of a personal medical issue or a medical issue with their families without fear of losing their jobs. Here are the situations that allow employees to take this time off under the FMLA:
- Bringing a new child into the family -- whether it's the birth of a baby, the adoption of a child or the addition of a foster child to your family
- The need to care for a family member with a serious health concern
- Necessary time off to recover from a serious personal health issue
The 12 weeks of time away from work is only allowed if an employee has worked at least 1,250 hours within the last 12 months.
If you want to take leave under the FMLA, make sure that you qualify for it by becoming knowledgeable about the law and discussing the matter with your employer as soon as possible. If your employer tells you that you don't have the right to this time off or if you believe that you lost your job because you exercised your rights, you might want to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney to determine what your legal options are.