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Do you know what FMLA is and how it could work for you?

Most workers are probably aware of the benefits their employers provide each year such as vacation and sick time. They may be less aware of benefits provided by the federal government that many employers are subject to. A program that fits into that category is the Family Medical Leave Act.

The act makes it necessary for employers to provide employees who fit certain criteria with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually. To qualify an employee must work at a company that employs at least 50 individuals within a 75 geographical radius. In addition, they must have worked at the company for year and put in a minimum of 1,250 hours.

The time may be sought for four reasons. The first is needing to take a medical leave because of a serious health condition. Second, it can be used to care for a family member such as a parent, child or spouse, who has a serious health condition. It can also be used following the placement of a child in the employee’s home, either for foster care or adoption so that they have a period of time to adjust to the new living situation. Last, an employee can take the time following the birth of a child.

While a worker is not paid during this period of time, he or she continues to receive group health benefits that may have been in place before the leave. In addition, those employees can take the time knowing that they will have a job to come back to.

Though the FMLA is often followed by employers there are situations where qualifying employees may run into issues securing the benefits. In these situations it may be beneficial to work with a lawyer.

Source: Department of Labor, “Leave Benefits,” Accessed Sept. 16, 2014

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