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Taking Leave under the FMLA

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Can I Take Time Off 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 That I Will Go Back to My Previous Job?

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

  • An employee on leave does not have any more rights or privileges than any of her fellow employees. Thus, if an employer decides to make a round of layoffs, the employee on leave is just as susceptible to being laid off as any other employee.
  • Any employee earning one of the top 10% salaries at the company does not have to be reinstated to the same position with the same pay and benefits after returning from leave if it would be a substantial and grievous economic burden on the company.

Can I Use Accrued Paid Leave 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 paid leave 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 such notice 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 sudden bodily injury. 

Should I Contact an Employment Lawyer?

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. Also, an employment lawyer can explain your rights to you and negotiate with your employer.

Photo of page author Kristen Johnson

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 01-24-2017 09:51 PM PST

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