Life is unpredictable, and there are times where it is simply not possible to attend work. Depending on the situation, it might be appropriate to take time away from work through the Family and Medical Leave Act — FMLA. However, FMLA protections only cover specific situations, so it is important to understand whether one’s own situation qualifies.
Women can qualify for FMLA if they are pregnant, and they may use some of that time off to seek prenatal care. Both mothers and fathers can use FMLA leave to provide care for their newborn babies. A father in Rhode Island or another state might also need to use the leave to help care for his spouse if she was incapacitated because of child birth or the pregnancy.
It is also appropriate to use FMLA if a worker is taking time away to provide full time care for a family member suffering from a serious health problem. FMLA is very specific about who qualifies as a family member, though. When it comes to qualifying for leave, only parents, spouses and children are counted as family members. This means that it is not possible to take use FMLA while providing full time care to grandparents or in laws.
A worker might also need FMLA because of his or her own serious health problem. There are very specific guidelines that must be followed though, including how many doctor visits an employee must have within the first 30 days of becoming incapacitated. A health condition must also cause a worker to be incapacitated for at least three days in a row to qualify.
Qualifying for FMLA can be the difference between preserving one’s job and financial stability, and losing everything. There is no time to lose when it comes to qualifying for leave. Rhode Island workers who are struggling with this process may be well advised to speak with an experienced attorney who can provide further guidance on the matter.