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Who is able to take family and medical leave?

If you're expecting a child, have been struggling with an illness, or need to take care of a family member, you may be considering taking your family and medical leave from work. This typically provides you 12 weeks of leave, but only if you qualify.

Who qualifies for family and medical leave?

The Family and Medical Leave Act only applies to employers who meet the criteria set by the government. If the employer is in the private sector and has 50 or more employees during 20 or more workweeks, then the FMLA applies. The same is true if the employer is an elementary or secondary school or a public or federal agency.

Only employees who are eligible may take FMLA leave. Eligible employees include those who work for a covered employer and have been working for that employer for at least 12 months, those who have worked at least 1,250 hours for the employer in the last 12 months immediately before the requested leave, and those who work within 75 miles of a location where the employer employs at least 50 employees. If a person is on a flight crew, there are special hours of service requirements for the leave.

How long can you take off work?

The leave you're entitled to is up to 12 work weeks within the course of a year. It can be taken for the placement of a foster or adopted child or for the birth of a son or daughter. If you are seriously ill, you can take leave for that purpose. If a spouse, daughter, son, or parent is part of the military and an emergency arises, you can also take leave.

If you meet these requirements and aren't being given time off, your employer could be breaking the law, and you could have a case against him or her.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, "Fact Sheet #28: The Family and Medical Leave Act," accessed Aug. 04, 2016

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