The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) is designed to provide certain employees with unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons. While many people never consider taking FMLA leave, it’s something that others heavily rely upon.
If you’re interested in taking FMLA leave, the first thing you should do is determine if you qualify. For example, your employer must have 50 or more employees, and you must have been employed by the company for a minimum of 12 months.
Once you’re sure that you qualify, do the following:
- Give notice: If you know you’ll require FMLA leave in the future, you should give your employer advance notice of 30 days or more. Should you be unable to give advance notice, such as in the event of an unforeseen illness or accident, give as much notice as you can.
- Provide the necessary information: Your employer will require information to ensure that you’re eligible for FMLA leave. The best way to do so is by asking your doctor to provide a letter outlining your need for time away from work.
- Don’t share too much: You are not required by law to share your diagnosis, but you still have to provide enough information to prove that you’re eligible under an FMLA-protected condition.
It’s your hope that your employer is sympathetic to your situation and helpful as you make your recovery. However, this doesn’t always work out, with some companies becoming upset when an employee takes FMLA leave. Should your employer take action against you, such as terminating your employment while on leave, learn more about your legal rights.