There are certain rights and privileges that an employee may exercise. However, this is only possible if you are aware of the rights and the way to utilize those. One such is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This act covers approximately 65% of all employed Americans.
The chief tenet of the FMLA is that an employee is eligible for a maximum 12 weeks of leave (unpaid) for reasons concerning family or medical problems. There is no risk of losing job, as per this law.
A proficient employment attorney would be able to help you understand the intricacies of this right. Who is eligible for this leave? Well, you need to fulfill certain criteria to become eligible for leave under this act. Here is a quick checklist.
- You must be an employee of the local, state or federal government
– Alternatively, you must work for an organization with staff strength of 50 or more
Another condition that you need to fulfill is that you have worked for your employer for a minimum of 1 year. Any other specifications may be there; talk to a good employment lawyer to know more details.
There are certain grounds on which you may take leave from work. These are as follows:
• To take care of a child (newborn/adopted/foster)
• To take care of a parent/spouse/child suffering from a serious physical or mental ailment
• To take care of yourself if you have a serious medical condition
The US Department of Labor offers a definition of ‘serious health condition’ as one that requires inpatient care or continuous medical treatment. This definition is, however, not very well defined. The usual cases accepted are terminal diseases like cancer and temporary issues like pregnancy or surgery.
When you face a situation where you need to take leave and know that you are eligible for it under FMLA, be sure to follow certain steps. This would help you get the leave, and in no way hinder your career.
An employment lawyer experienced in the laws would let you know what to do. If you know that you want a leave at a particular time, notify your employer about it 30 days earlier. However, in an emergency you can also take the leave immediately.
Gather medical proofs to support your demand for leave. Providing a doctor’s certificate will not do, you need to submit all relevant medical records. Your employer may conduct checks on you about your health condition. Do not get worried, it is just a check. You also need to decide whether you want to use your paid leave as part of the medical leave.
In case your employer fires you from the job even when you have fulfilled all the conditions, you need to take legal action. Contact a Miami employment attorney and discuss the details of the matter with him/her. If you can prove that, you were eligible for the leave and fulfilled all conditions the court would order your employer to give you your job back.