How Long Does Family Medical Leave Last
The unexpected happens all the time in life. You have the right to take care of family emergencies and other life contingencies that may pop up without losing your job. You have this right under the Family and Medical Leave Act. This law is a U.S. federal law passed in 1993. The FMLA allows employees to take time off work without pay for matters related to their family or their health. If your emergency falls within either of these categories, you are entitled to 12 weeks of leave. If the emergency involves a relative who is a service member, you are allowed up to 26 weeks of leave without pay.
Are You Eligible for FMLA?
The law sets out certain eligibility requirements, including:
- You must have worked for the company for at least 12 months and put in a minimum of 1,250 hours since starting.
- Your employer must have a minimum of 50 employees within 75 miles.
These are the only requirements set forth in the law. If you are within them, then you should be able to take leave for the prescribed time without the threat of termination.
Types of Medical Leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act breaks the type of leave you are allowed to take into two general categories, which are medical and personal. The breakdown is as follows:
Covered Under Medical Leave
- Giving birth to a child
- The need to be treated for severe health issues that require in-patient care and long-term treatment
Covered Under Personal Leave
- Caring for a family member who is seriously ill
- Caring for a new-born baby
- Adopting a child
- Taking care of a foster child
- Other matters related to the care and placement of a child
You are allowed to take your 12 weeks within a given year. You do not have to take it all at once. You can take the leave for any of the instances above or combination of them. If you need to take a leave of absence, you should provide your employer with a 30-day notice.
When Employers Violate the FMLA
Employers who violate the Family and Medical Leave Act may have to offer restitution to employees. This can come in the form of wages, benefits, and other damages. If you have been fired for taking leave, the company may have to reinstate you. They may also be compelled to re-offer you any opportunity for promotion you may have lost because you went on leave.
Why You Need an Attorney
Most employers recognize the fact that unfortunate things happen in life and that people need time to sort them out. They are willing to abide by the spirit and letter of the FMLA and give the employees who meet the criteria time off to take care of themselves or their family. Other employers are not as fair-minded. They will fire you if you take leave under FMLA and try to get around the law if challenged.
Do not allow your rights to be trampled on. If you have been terminated as a result of taking leave under FMLA, you should hire a family medical leave lawyer. A family medical leave lawyer will work to get you the compensation you are entitled to. They will also fight to get your job back if that is what you want.
If you meet the FMLA criteria and have been denied family medical leave, the first thing you should do is contact an attorney for family medical leave. Your lawyer can point out to your employer the legal ramifications of their actions. Some companies refuse employee leave because they think they can get away with it. They count on employee fear and do not believe they will take matters any further. Once they have seen that you have hired an attorney for family medical leave and know of the possible consequences of unlawfully denied family medical leave, they will back down and do the right thing.
How a Los Angeles Employment Lawyer Can Help
You may not need to sue an employer who has denied you family or medical leave or fired you for taking it. Your lawyer may be able to present the plain facts and the law to your employer in a way that compels them to grant you the leave or compensate you for loss wages and benefits if they fired you for taking it.
If a lawsuit is required, a Los Angeles employment lawyer can get to the same ends. If you are forced to take legal action, you may demand compensation for attorney fees and mental and emotional stress in addition to lost wages and benefits.
If you are having difficulty with your employer about your right to take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, you need representation. You should contact us immediately.