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Key aspects of the FMLA

Major life events happen all the time. Sometimes those events require designated time and attention. For the majority of workers, taking the time off work to deal with these instances can be concerning.

However, there is legislation in place to protect these employees. In particular, the Family and Medical Leave Act may be of assistance. There are a few key aspects to understand about this act.


An employee must meet certain requirements to qualify for FMLA benefits. The main criteria are that a party must maintain employment at a company for a year. Depending upon the position, the year timeframe may have to be consecutive, or it may be a sum of the time a party works for a company.

Possible use

The Department of Labor provides an employee guide that explains the FMLA. In short, this act covers several different familial and medical instances, including:

  • Childbirth or newborn care
  • Care of immediate family
  • Serious health conditions
  • Adoption or foster care child placement

Parties may take up to 12 weeks off within a year. This time off is not paid. However, employees can keep their jobs and benefits while tending to important matters.

How it works

Employers have their own policies in place for the proper means of informing the company of the need for time off. Employees must follow this protocol. In the case that the absence is foreseen, companies usually require certain documentation and possible medical paperwork. Employees should be sure to document this properly. Unfortunately, some employees face issues upon returning to work, or even wrongful termination due to exercising their rights under this act. Having documentation in place can aid in developing a strong claim, should employees choose to seek recompense.

This overview can help to provide some understanding of the FMLA. For those seeking to exercise this right, it may be beneficial to review the law in full, along with their company policies.

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