When your spouse or child becomes seriously ill or injured, you naturally want to do everything you can to help them get better. You might even take time off of work to be at their side around the clock.
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) gives certain employees in Florida, Washington, D.C., and around the country the right to take up to 12 weeks of leave per year to take care of an ill family member or to give birth to a baby and help in its initial care. Though your employer is not required to pay you during your leave, it must have your job waiting for you when you get back. Your employer must also maintain your benefits during your leave. These rights can be vital for families struggling with a severe, chronic, potentially life-threatening condition.
Who can qualify for FMLA leave?
In order to qualify for leave under FMLA, the following must be true.
- Your employer must have at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius of your workplace
- You must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months
- In the last 12 months, you must have worked at least 1,250 hours or slightly more than 24 hours per week on average
If you qualify, you can use your FMLA leave to care for an immediate family member with a severe condition, or use it as recovery time if you are the one with the condition and you are unable to work as a result.
Illegal retaliation against family leave
Some managers and business owners try to intimidate their workers out of exercising their legal rights by retaliating against those who do. If your employer failed to give you your job back after your leave, terminated you or harassed you, you might be able to fight back in court.