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When life gives you lemons...

Life brings about many surprises in its course. Medical issues, injuries, births, deaths - all of these instances serve as some of the many possible life disturbances.

The good news is that when surprising or unexpected life events occur, you do have rights that can help alleviate stress during a difficult time. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) permits employees to take time away from work when something happens, without compromising their job. Ultimately, the law is intended to help Americans have a better work-life balance.

A few benefits of FMLA

A new child: If you or your partner needs to take time off in relation to the birth of your child, the law permits you to do so for up to 12 weeks. This is known as parental leave. Moreover, some employers pay employees for time spent away from work.

Similarly, if you are adopting or fostering a child, you may also take leave during your transitional period. This permits time for the child to adjust into a new family setting.

Medical issues: If your spouse, child, or parent becomes ill and needs extra attention, FMLA allows you to take time off, providing time so that you can care for your family. Similarly, if you develop a serious health condition that prevents you from working, such event is also covered under FMLA.

These are just a few benefits experienced under the Act.

However, in order to benefit from the Act's privileges, you must qualify. To qualify, you must fulfill all of the following work-related requirements:

  • You have worked at your company for at least a year or more
  • You have completed at least 1,250 hours of work in the past year
  • You work in an environment where the employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles

If life throws you a curve ball, you do have options. To learn more about the Family and Medical Leave Act and its requirements, contact an experienced employment law attorney in your area.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Understanding Your Rights Under FMLA," Lindsay Olson, March 12, 2013

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