Taking Leave Under the FMLA

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Can I Take Time of Work to Care for a Sick Family Member?

Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) an employee may take leave to care for an ill family member.  However, this provision does not apply to all family members.  The following is a list of family members who do not qualify under the FMLA to enable the employee to take leave:

Does My Employer Guarantee My Previous Job when I Return from Leave?

Generally, an employer must return you to your previous position after taking leave under the FMLA.  However, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule:

If I Have Accrued Pay Leave, Can I Use it When I Am on Leave under the FMLA?

Normally when an employee takes leave under a condition of the FMLA, the extent of time for which they are on leave is unpaid.  However, if an employee has accrued paid leave, the employer must allow the employee to utilize that pay when he goes on leave under the FMLA.  An employee may also substitute accrued paid sick leave or family leave for FMLA leave, but only for reasons covered under those substitute plans. 

Can I Take Leave under the FMLA Whenever I Want?

It depends on the circumstances, but the employee must give some type of notice of leave as soon as it is practical.  For any foreseeable events, such as child birth/adoption or planned medical treatment, the employee is required to give at least 30 days notice to the employer before going on leave under the FMLA.  Where the circumstances are not foreseeable, the employee is only required to give such notice that is practical before going on leave under the FMLA, which may be no notice at all in the event of a bodily injury. 

What Should I Do If I Have an FMLA Dispute with My Employer?

Sometimes getting your employer to honor your rights under the FMLA is difficult.  An experienced employment lawyer can help you if a dispute arises between you and your employer.  An employment lawyer can explain your rights to you and negotiate with your employer.

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Last Modified: 08-30-2011 03:40 PM PDT

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