The Family and Medical Leave Act protects certain American workers from losing their jobs for taking time off to tend to their own health issues or those of a loved one. Whether you are able to take advantage of FMLA depends on several factors, including how long you have worked for your company and how many other workers your place of business currently employs.
More specifically, in order to qualify for FMLA leave, your employer must have a staff of 50 or more workers, and all of them must work within 75 miles of where you do. Further, you must have at least a 12-month history working for your employer, though the 12 months do not necessarily have to be consecutive. In addition to working for your employer for at least 12 months, you must have also worked at least 1250 hours during that period to qualify for FMLA leave.
When you can use FMLA leave
If your employer must adhere to the stipulations of the FMLA and you are eligible for up to 12 weeks of (unpaid) leave under it, you may need to use it for any number of different reasons. For example, many people use it after having a child or when one parent leaves to fulfill military obligations. You may also need to rely on FMLA leave if you or someone in your family develops a serious health condition, although such conditions must meet certain criteria.
Pregnancy typically qualifies, as do many chronic conditions. Conditions that require overnight stays in medical settings may also qualify, as can some conditions that require regular ongoing medical treatment and incapacitate you or your loved one for three consecutive days or longer.
Though you do not receive pay on FMLA, you may, depending on your situation, be able to use vacation or sick time you have accrued so that you have at least some sort of income during your time off.