The Family and Medical Leave Act is an important act that offers unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees. This leave is only to be used for specific types of medical reasons or family-related issues. For example, if your wife gives birth to a child, then you could take up to 12 weeks off work under the FMLA as long as you are an eligible employee.
The FMLA also allows you to take time off in other circumstances, such as if:
- You have a foster or adopted child placed in your home
- You need to take time off to care for your spouse, parent or child with a serious health condition
- You have a serious health condition that makes it impossible for you to work
- Any qualifying issue related to the employee’s parent, child or spouse being in the military and on covered active duty.
Some people can get up to 26 weeks off work (unpaid) within any 12-month period if they are caring for a covered servicemember with an illness or injury. This is called military caregiver leave and only applies to the servicemember’s son, daughter, spouse, next of kin or parent.
What should you do if you want to take leave?
If you want to take leave from your job, it’s important to talk to your supervisor or employer as soon as possible. You will need to find out if your job is qualified for the FMLA protections. If it is, then you should be able to use it to help care for your loved ones or for yourself when major changes require you to step away from work for a few months.