Do I qualify for FMLA leave?

Do I qualify for FMLA leave

Certain employees are eligible to take leave from work for up to 12 weeks under the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA. The leave must be because of family or medical emergencies that fit specified reasons under the law. Not all reasons will qualify for protection under the FMLA, and only eligible employees who work for employers that are covered by the act may take the leave. The types of situations that trigger protection under the FMLA include the following:

  • Arrival of new children through birth, foster care or adoption
  • A family member needing care for his or her serious health condition
  • The employee suffering a serious health condition that interferes with his or her ability to perform his or her job functions

Serious health conditions under the law mean illnesses, impairments, injuries, mental conditions and physical conditions that require inpatient care or ongoing treatment from a health care provider. Employees may only take leave to care for family members who are their spouses, children or parents. Since the reasons for taking leave might vary, it is important for you to understand whether your situation qualifies as an allowable type under the FMLA. The employment law attorneys at Swartz Swidler might be able to provide you with guidance about whether your circumstances might qualify for FMLA leave.

Leave after having a new baby

When a mother has a new child, she may take FMLA leave in order to provide prenatal and continuing care after the child’s birth. Fathers are also allowed to take FMLA leave to provide care for their newborn children or to care for their incapacitated spouses.

When parents take leave, the leave does not have to run simultaneously. If an employer approves it, the parents may also choose to spread their 12 weeks of leave over the course of a year. They might choose to take a few weeks off at a time or to reduce their working hours during a week. If both parents are employed by the same employer, only one of them may be allowed to take childbirth or pregnancy leave.

Do I qualify for FMLA Pregnancy leave?

Some pregnancies are difficult, and they might qualify for FMLA leave as serious health conditions. If an employee is placed on bed rest by her physician during pregnancy, it may qualify as protected leave under the FMLA. The employer might require that the employee verifies the complication by getting a certification from her doctor.

Leave for foster care or adoption

The FMLA allows employees who have children placed in their homes through foster care or adoption to take up to 12 weeks of leave off from work for up to a year after the child’s placement. Taking a leave for adoption may also happen before the placement happens in situations in which the employee’s absence is required. This might include to attend required counseling sessions, to attend court or to travel to other countries in order to complete the adoption process.

Taking leave to care for family members who have serious health conditions

Employees who need to take leave from work in order to care for family members who are suffering from serious health conditions are protected by the FMLA. The allowed family members include spouses, children or parents. The conditions must also qualify and may not include ordinary conditions such as the flu, colds, headaches or upset stomachs. In some cases, a common illness may qualify if a doctor deems it to be serious.

Taking a leave for your own health condition: Do I qualify for FMLA leave?

Commonly, employees take FMLA leave for their own serious health conditions. People who are not able to perform their job duties because of a chronic health condition or a serious illness may request FMLA leave so that they can receive treatment or ongoing care from their doctors.

In order to qualify, the FMLA requires that people must have a period of incapacity that lasts for more than three consecutive days. An employee whose condition requires him or her to see a doctor two or more times must have their second visit happen within 30 days of the first date that they were incapacitated.

FMLA regulations also require that treatment of chronic health conditions must happen at least twice per year. Employees may be required to obtain medical certification of his or her condition.

Military family leave

Employees are allowed to take FMLA leave in order to care fro a family member who suffered an injury while on active military duty. Employees are also allowed to request leave in order to handle certain exigencies that arise out of a family member’s deployment.

If you believe that your reason qualifies for protection under the FMLA, you must still meet the general FMLA eligibility rules. These include working for an employer that is covered by the law, working enough hours and for a long enough duration and following the notice requirements. If you have questions, contact an attorney at Swartz Swidler about your FMLA rights.