Three important things to know before you take family medical leave

stressed and tired pregnant woman sitting at her desk at work

Do you qualify for employment leave under FMLA?

Some employees are guaranteed the right to take leave under The Family and Medical Leave Act(FMLA). FMLA protects qualified employees who want to take time off to care for family members or handle a serious medical condition that they or an immediate family member face.

Are you a qualified employee under the Family and Medical Leave Act?

To qualify for the FMLA, you must meet several criteria:


  • You must work for a private-sector employer that has 50+ employees within a 75 mile radiius.
  • You must have been working there for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours or 20 workweeks within the 12 months prior.
  • You can only take up to 12 weeks off in a 12-month period.


In order to qualify for FMLA, your employment status must meet the criteria listed above. In the case of public agencies, including State, local and Federal employers, and local education agencies (schools), all employees qualify.


What conditions and circumstances allow you to take FMLA leave?


To take medical leave, your circumstances must meet this criteria:


  • for the birth of a son or daughter, and/or to care for the newborn child
  • for the placement of a child for adoption or foster care with an employee to care for the newly placed child
  • to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent–but not a parent “in law”) with a serious health condition; and when the employee requires leave due to a serious health condition


An employee’s right to care for a newborn/newly placed child must conclude within 12 months after the birth or placement. In addition, restrictions on your ability to take medical leave under FMLA may apply to your spouse and also if your spouse is also employed by the same company.

Special circumstances where a spouse is employed by the same company can limit the total amount of leave taken to 12 workweeks.


What conditions and circumstances limit the duration of FMLA leave?


Medical leave may be split between family members for the following reasons:


  • birth and care of a child
  • to care for an employee’s parent who has a serious health condition
  • for the placement of a child for adoption/foster care, and to care for the newly placed child


There are plenty of circumstances that qualify an employee for family medical leave, and some may also restrict your ability to access the maximum number of weeks. It’s important that you check the stipulations that apply to you in order to determine your ability to receive medical-related family leave.

There are more qualifying factors that may make you eligible for relief from work under the Family Medical Leave Act. Employees with a serious medical condition are protected by FMLA, and reduced or intermittent leave may be granted to employees who must care for family members.

Have you been retaliated against as the result of leave outlined in FMLA?

Then you may be entitled to damages by law. You need an employment law attorney who you can trust. Get in touch with the employee rights advocates at Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., and contact us today for a consultation.

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The Family Medical Leave Act

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