If you’re pregnant, planning on getting pregnant, caring for an immediate family member who is sick, or have a short-term disability or illness, you may be wondering how FMLA, or the Family Medical leave Act, can benefit you.
FMLA became law in 1993 after a decade-long struggle. Before FMLA, if a worker needed to take off more time than they had allotted in sick leave and vacation time, they could risk being disciplined, fired or replaced. FMLA gave workers protection for a longer period of time than most people had access to with just vacation and sick time. But there’s more to it than just a few more days off.
FMLA allows you to take up to 12 weeks off in a one-year period for a pregnancy or serious health conditionaffecting you or an immediate family member. The time does not have to be taken all at once, and it does not have to be scheduled in advance. FMLA protects you from being fired, disciplined, suspended or denied advancement due to absences. These days off can’t be counted against you under attendance control policies.
This leave only applies to serious health conditions and pregnancies, including any health condition that:
- Requires an overnight hospital stay
- Leaves you incapacitated for more than three days while being treated
- Is a serious chronic condition
- Qualifies as a long-term or permanent disability
- Requires multiple treatments or surgeries
This time is unpaid, but FMLA still has value for most workers because it protects your position while you are out, allowing you to focus on what’s important-healing.
If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination due to absences covered under the FMLA, Amy Crossan represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.