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When are you eligible to take FMLA leave from your job?

With the creation of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, the government established a program that protects most workers from losing their job due to illness or family circumstances that requires that they take a prolonged leave of absence.

Employers should accommodate reasonable requests for time off and allow the worker in question to return to their work once they can do so. Sadly, some companies deny reasonable requests or retaliate against workers who take FMLA leave.

Most workers can receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the FMLA, although people can sometimes qualify for as much as 26 weeks worth of leave in special circumstances. Attempting to determine if your situation likely qualifies for FMLA leave requires that you look both at your employer and your role in the company, as well as your reason for needing to take a leave of absence.

What companies must honor FMLA leave request?

The first step toward determining whether you should have the right to take FMLA leave will involve looking at your employer. They must have at least 50 or more employees working for the company for at least 20 workweeks in the last year. Additionally, you must have worked there for at least 1,250 hours over the last 12 months and have worked for the company for at least 12 months.

When do your circumstances justify an FMLA leave request?

One of the most common reasons that people ask for FMLA leave is when they have a child. Pregnant women have the legal right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave after the birth of a new child. However, expanding your family in other manners can also qualify you for FMLA leave. You can potentially take up to 12 weeks of leave after the foster placement of a child in your home or an adoption, regardless of whether the adoption is domestic or foreign.

The family in the Family and Medical Leave Act signifies your right to take leave in order to provide medical care for an injured or sick family member. Typically, the person must be a part of your immediate family, such as a spouse, child or parent. If you request leave in order to provide medical care for your loved one and they are a military service member, you’re permitted FMLA leave increases to 26 weeks.