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How to Apply for FMLA

If you meet the eligibility requirements and work for a covered employer, you may be able to take leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act to care for your own serious medical condition or the medical condition of your loved one. Under this law, eligible workers are able to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year. If you request FMLA leave and are denied, the attorneys at Swartz Swidler may be able to help.

Understanding the Family and Medical Leave Act

To be eligible to take unpaid medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, you must have worked for a covered employer for at least 12 months and have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during the past 12 months before your leave is needed. Your employer must also have a minimum of 50 employees who work within a 75-mile radius. In addition to medical leave, employees may take up to 26 weeks of leave for their military service member’s family leave. Your condition must be a serious health condition, and you will need to get a medical verification of your need for leave from your doctor. Your employer can ask you to get a second opinion about your need for leave. If the first two medical professionals disagree, you might be asked to get a third opinion from a doctor that you and your employer agree upon.

Schedule an appointment today. Call (856) 685-7420 or

Schedule an appointment today.
Call (856) 685-7420 or

Applying for FMLA leave

When you tell your employer about your need for leave, you will be given a medical certification form to take to your doctor. Once you are given the form, you will have to bring it back to your employer within 15 days. If your leave is approved, you will need to give your employer notice in advance of the dates that you will need to be gone by submitting a notification form. Typically, employers are asked to give a 30-day notice to their employers. If sufficient notice is not given, your employer may deny your leave request.

Reasons for denial of leave requests

There are several reasons why your leave request under the FMLA may be denied, including the following:

  • Insufficient notice for a foreseeable reason for leave
  • Failure to comply with an employer’s request for a medical certification
  • Failure to get a second or third opinion if asked to do so

If you are approved for leave, you might be asked to be evaluated for your fitness to return to work before you can come back to your job.

Reasons to take FMLA leave

Employees are able to take FMLA leave for the following reasons:

  • Adoption of a new child
  • Placement of a foster care child
  • To care for your spouse’s newborn
  • Maternity leave
  • To care for your own serious health condition or a serious health condition of your immediate family member
  • To take military service member family leave

There are two types of service member family leave, including military caregiver leave and qualifying exigency leave. Caregiver leave may be granted if you are the next of kin, parent, child, or spouse of a military service member who needs care. Qualifying exigency leave can be taken if you need to help your service member to prepare to deploy overseas. Unlike other types of FMLA leave, you can take up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave for service member family leave.

Different types of FMLA leave

There are several types of leave that can be taken. You can take continuous FMLA leave if you will be gone from work for at least three consecutive days and have received treatment from your doctor. If you have a serious health condition that requires you to be gone intermittently such as to attend ongoing appointments, you can take intermittent leave. You can also take leave on a reduced schedule if you need to work fewer hours during the week or during each day such as to take care of a family member.

Benefits requirements

Employers do not have to pay workers for their FMLA leave unless they choose to use their accrued sick time or paid time off hours. Your employer might require you to use up your paid time off first when you request FMLA leave. Your benefits will continue for up to 12 weeks if you continue to pay your contribution portions.

FMLA violations

If your employer violates your rights under the FMLA, you may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor. If your employer is found to have violated your rights under the FMLA, you might be able to recover the following damages:

  • Benefits
  • Actual monetary losses
  • Wages
  • Other compensation that you lost because of the violation
  • interest

Liquidated damages may be granted unless your employer is able to show that it acted in good faith. You may also be reinstated to your position if you lost your job or receive a promotion. Finally, you might be able to recover reasonable attorney’s fees, legal fees and expert witness fees. Your remedies related to liquidated damages, interest and wages are limited to 12 weeks. The FMLA doesn’t affect any state or federal laws that prohibit discrimination or supersede local and state laws or collective bargaining agreements that are broader in scope than the FMLA.

Contact Swartz Swidler

If your employer violated your rights under the FMLA, getting legal help from the employment attorneys at Swartz Swidler is important. Contact us today to find out more about your potential claim.

Most Frequently Asked Question: Do I Have A Case?

While it is true that every case is different, The law is pretty clear in most cases. The best way to determine if you have a case is to contact one of our attorneys. For more information check out the FAQ below or visit our FAQ Page

Most Frequently Asked Question:
Do I Have A Case?

While it is true that every case is different, The law is pretty clear in most cases. The best way to determine if you have a case is contact one of our attorneys. For more information on a just a few scenarios checkout the flip box FAQ below or visit our FAQ Page.

Our Locations

Cherry Hill Headquarters

1101 Kings Hwy N
Suite 402
Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08034

Phone: (856) 685-7420
Fax: (856) 685-7417

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123 South 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Phone: (215) 995-2733

Our Locations

Cherry Hill Headquarters

1101 Kings Hwy N
Suite 402
Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08034

Phone: (856) 685-7420
Fax: (856) 685-7417

Philadelphia Satellite Office

123 South 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Phone: (215) 995-2733