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What is the Family and Medical Leave Act?

The Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees of certain employers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specific medical and family reasons. This act does not apply to all employees, but does apply to:

-- Private employers who have 50 or more employees who have worked for 20 workweeks at a minimum in the preceding or current calendar year.

-- Public agencies, including all federal, state and local employers. This includes local schools.

In order for FMLA to be available to an employee, he or she must be employed by an employer who is covered and have:

-- Worked 1,250 hours a minimum in the last 12 months; and

-- Worked for the covered employer for the preceding 12 months; and

-- Work at or within 75 miles of an employer's location where at least 50 people are employed by the employer.

The reasons why FMLA must be granted to an eligible employee are varied, but can include:

-- The birth of a daughter or son, or to care for the newborn.

-- To care for a newly adopted child or one placed for foster care.

-- To care for a spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition.

-- For the employee's own serious health condition.

As you can see, it can be somewhat confusing on whether FMLA applies to your situation. However, your employer should provide you with the information and forms needed for you to take such leave if you are eligible. If you are denied FMLA and you believe you are eligible, an experienced attorney can help.

Source: United States Department of Labor, "The Family and Medical Leave Act," accessed Sep. 04, 2015

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