If you or a loved one gets sick, it can seem nearly impossible to balance
your personal life with your professional one. Naturally, your first instinct
is to drop everything and care for your family member, however, it is
hard to know if your employer will be understanding or if you will have
to find another way to provide for yourself. It may not seem pressing
now, but it is important to educate yourself on the
Family and Medical Leave Act. This act will play a major role in how you respond to a medical emergency
within the family.
What are your rights under the FMLA?
The act was established in 1993 to help employees tend to their families
while leading professional careers. The act states that you are allowed
to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a year’s span in order
to tend to your own health issues, or those of a family member. Likewise,
you can also take advantage of the act for the birth of a child or an adoption.
However, just because you are working, it does not necessarily mean that
you are covered by FMLA. According to the act, you must have been working
for your employer for at least 12 months before you can request leave.
Also, you must have worked at least 1,250 hours that year-if you work
an eight hour day that is roughly 156 days.
If you are in a position where you need to utilize the FMLA, your company
could require you to use paid leave first. Different companies have varying
policies, which is why it is best to consult with HR before moving forward.
Even if your company does not require you to use your paid leave, you
could still elect to do so for as long as possible. For most people losing
pay entirely would be an issue, which is why many take this type of leave
before the additional 12 they can take under the FMLA.
How the FMLA Will Affect Your Job
Keep in mind, while the FMLA guarantees your right to a job at your current
company, it does not necessarily mean that you will return to the same
position you had previously. Your employer cannot demote you, as the act
does state you have to return to position of equal pay and benefits; however,
it could be within different area of the company.
Dealing with a sick family member is never easy. If you need extended time
off work but are having trouble with your employer, please
contact Stewart & Musell, LLP today. Let our employment law attorneys help you craft a compelling case for
your time off.