The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that permits eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for any of the following reasons:
- To treat or recover from a serious health condition that prevents you from working;
- To care for a sick child, spouse, or parent who has a serious health condition;
- To care for a newborn child, newly adopted child, or a foster child;
- When you have a family member in the military member on active duty in support of a contingency operation and you need time to attend to their affairs.
If you are eligible, the FMLA permits you to take family leave or medical leave without fear of losing your job. In other words, your job is protected during your leave. Upon your return to work, your employer must give you either the same job you had before you began leave, or one with equal benefits, pay, working conditions, and seniority. Your employer must also continue to pay for your health insurance coverage during your leave as it normally would have during your employment. If you qualify for a family or medical leave, you have the right to take that leave free from harassment or discrimination. Your employer cannot interfere with your right to take leave, discriminate against you for requesting information about your rights, or discriminate against you for taking a leave.
If you believe your employer has interfered with your FMLA rights, or discriminated or retaliated against you for either needing to take FMLA leave or for taking such leave, you should contact an employment attorney for help.