There are times when an employee may have a serious medical condition that makes it impossible to work. An employee may also need to take time off of work to care for a family member.
If an employee works for a company that employs a certain number of people, the worker may be eligible to take a period of leave with job protection.
Family and Medical Leave Act basics
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, an eligible employee can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period. As long as the employee continues to pay his or her portion of employer-sponsored health insurance, this coverage remains in effect during leave. If the employee has available vacation or sick time, part of the time may be eligible for paid leave. Eligible reasons for an unpaid or paid leave include:
- Care of newborn or newly adopted or fostered child
- Employee’s serious health condition
- Care for an employee’s child, spouse or parent with a severe medical condition
If the eligible employee is a close relative of a covered servicemember, the employee may take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for the servicemember.
Employee eligibility and request process
According to the Pennsylvania Office of Administration Human Resources, an employee is eligible for leave under the FMLA if he or she worked for a covered employer for a minimum of one year and at least 1,200 hours in the previous 12 months. The employee must request this leave from the employer and provide proof via certification or other type of proof.
If the employee is not eligible or the employer does not fall under FMLA entitlement, the employee may be able to use unused available paid leave or request unpaid leave from the employer.