The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is designed to protect an employee who needs to take a leave of absence to bond with a new child, receive treatment for a personal illness or care for an injured or sick family member.
Once you realize that you qualify for FMLA, there are a few things you need to do. Most importantly, it’s critical to follow the necessary steps in requesting a leave. Here are some things you need to know:
- Provide adequate notice: If you need FMLA leave for a foreseeable absence, such as childbirth, provide your employer with a minimum 30 days’ notice. Since this isn’t always possible as your condition could change, the law requires you to provide notice as soon as possible.
- Give reasonable notice for an unforeseeable absence: There are times when you can’t plan for an illness or injury. If you need to take an unforeseeable absence, the law only requires that you give your employer reasonable notice.
- Share sufficient information: It’s your job to provide your employer with information to prove that you’re taking an FMLA-protected leave. This can include proof of your pregnancy, a doctor note that you’re unable to perform your job or that you spent the night in the hospital and require additional treatment.
While you hope your employer understands your situation, this doesn’t always happen. If your company retaliates as a result of your FMLA leave, such as by demoting you, don’t hesitate to learn more about your legal rights. FMLA is in place for a reason, so take advantage of the protection the law provides.