An Employment Lawyer
Representing Employees

How much FMLA can a worker take?

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2024 | Family Medical Leave Act (fmla)

Many professionals negotiate compensation packages that include paid leave benefits. If they want to take a vacation or have a medical issue, they can continue to receive pay for a certain amount of time. However, even the most generous paid leave package may only offer a few weeks of paid time off per year.

Workers may have already used their paid leave benefits or may have plans to use those benefits when some kind of personal challenge arises. Thankfully, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) offers an alternative for those who need time away from the job for qualifying personal reasons.

Under the FMLA, qualifying workers with appropriate work records can take unpaid leave instead of or in addition to any paid leave that they request from their jobs under certain circumstances. How much paid leave can an employee potentially obtain under the FMLA in Michigan?

Different circumstances have different rules

The FMLA applies to people in numerous different personal and family situations. Typically, applicants must have a situation that falls into one of three categories. Someone may have a personal medical issue that requires a leave of absence. They may need time off to undergo treatment or recover from an injury.

Other times, people qualify for unpaid leave because of a new child joining their family. The birth, foster placement or adoption of a child can lead to FMLA leave. Finally, individuals who have an immediate family member experiencing medical challenges may qualify for FMLA leave. People can take time off to care for a spouse, child or parent with a debilitating medical issue.

In most scenarios, workers can only take a total of 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year regardless of how many personal or familial situations arise. However, people in one specific scenario can qualify for more than twice that much on paid leave. If someone must take time away from their employment to provide medical support for a family member who actively serves in the military, they could qualify for up to 26 weeks of paid leave under the FMLA. That leave renews every year, but workers may need to plan carefully, especially if they intend to take the maximum amount of leave possible.

Those who understand the FMLA are in a better position to make use of their rights and to push back if their employers do not comply with the law. Knowing how much leave is available is a crucial starting point for those who need time off from their jobs due to personal or family circumstances.