When is an employee entitled to FMLA leave?

As discussed last week in this blog, there are times in which Cranston residents must take some time away from work in order to address a medical emergency or family responsibility. While many employers do not offer paid leave, employees have employment law protections that must be honored by the employer under the Family Medical Leave Act.

Under the FMLA, employees who are eligible for medical leave may take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period. There are many situations covered under the FMLA which are covered by the 12-week leave.

For example, if the employee needs to take leave for the birth of a child, the FMLA provisions are triggered. Similarly, if the employee needs time due to an adoption or foster care placement of a child, the FMLA applies.

As noted above, the FMLA also applies for medical situations. For example, if the employee needs time to care for a spouse, son, daughter or parent who has a serious health condition, the leave provisions apply. Likewise, the employee is entitled to leave if he or she has a serious health condition which makes them unable to perform the essential functions of the job.

There are further protections under the statute for situations that require leave due to a loved one serving on active duty status. On a related note, if a person needs to care for a servicemember with a serious illness or injury, there are certain leave provisions that apply which are slightly different from those mentioned above.

The bottom line is there are a number of situations that entitle an employee to FMLA leave. Accordingly, employees should understand their rights under the FMLA and when they are entitled to take leave.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, "Fact Sheet #28: The Family and Medical Leave Act," accessed on Nov. 24, 2016

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