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Can I take time off under the Family Medical Leave Act?

The Family Medical Leave Act is an important act that protects American workers in the event that they or someone in their families become sick or gives birth to a new child. The Family Medical Leave Act provides a little of breathing room to workers who are experiencing a health issue -- whether it is the happy time of ushering in a new child to the family or a difficult period of family illness.

Here are some of the situations in which your employer is required by law to give you time off and reserve an employment position of equal level and pay for when it's time for you to return to work:

  • When serious health calamity renders you unable to carry out your job duties;
  • When an immediate family member requires you to care for them because they are suffering from a debilitating health problem; and
  • When you or spouse is celebrating the birth or adoption of a new child -- either because you need to leave to give birth or you need to assist in caring for the child.

There are many rules, restrictions and limitations to the Family Medical Leave Act. One of the most important rules is that you must give notice that you plan to take time off. You don't have to make your notice fancy, but you need to say why you plan to take your time off, and you need to do it within 30 days of the date you want to leave -- unless it's an emergency health situation.

Sometimes, employees are not provided the time off that they deserve under the FMLA. If your FMLA rights have been violated by your employer, you may want to contact an FMLA lawyer to assist you in protecting your rights as an employee.

Source: FindLaw, "Rights and Responsibilities Under the FMLA," accessed July 14, 2017

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