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What you should know about a medical leave of absence

As an employee, you may face situations where you need to take time off of work and concentrate on an important issue. Whether you or a family member is suffering from a serious medical condition or you have just given birth to a baby, you may be required to take a break from work for a few weeks.  The Family Medical Leave Act may provide workers with the assurance that they will not lose their job while they are out taking care of these important matters. However, you must meet certain criteria before you can receive this benefit.

Your employer must be covered for FMLA by employing more than 50 workers. These workers must be within 75 miles of your worksite in order to be considered eligible. You must also be employed for at least 12 months. The 12 months does not have to be consecutive; however, there cannot be a break of more than seven years in between employment. In addition, you must have worked for more than 1250 hours within that 12-month period.

FMLA can be used for the following reasons:

  •          Military leave
  •          Serious medical condition
  •          Pregnancy
  •          Adoption

You can take a leave to bond with a newborn child, to recover from a health condition or to take care of an ailing family member. Make sure that you provide your employer with at least 30 days notice of your leave. Your employer has five days to tell you whether you are approved for FMLA leave, as well as your rights and responsibilities. If approved, you have 15 calendar days to fill out and return a completed certification to your employer.

This information is intended to educate and should not be used as legal advice. 

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