An overview of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)


The United States government understands the importance of family. In the middle of the 20th century, it was believed that the bond between a newborn and its mother were most important. But it became increasingly more apparent that the relationship between a father and his new child is also vitally important to the well-being of both child and parent.

To encourage this relationship, the U.S. created the Family and Medical Leave Act as a means of protecting one's job during the birth of a child. This includes up to twelve weeks of leave for the birth of a new child, or the placement of a child who is up for adoption within one year of placement. This also includes full rights for same-sex couples.

The U.S. also understands that there are times when other family members become ill and are in need of aid from their family members. The FMLA also covers an employee's spouse, child or parent who is stricken with a serious health condition, an employee who is suffering a serious health condition, as well as active military members who are on "covered active duty".

Unfortunately, there are times when an employer does not understand or simply refuses to grant an employee such rights. This could lead to lost wages or even a loss of one's job. If you find yourself in such a situation, you may want to speak with a legal professional familiar with employment law to fight for your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act and assure that you are not improperly penalized for caring for your family.

Source: United States Department of Labor, "Family and Medical Leave Act," Accessed Feb. 27, 2017

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