Am I Entitled To FMLA Leave?
The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a law that permits covered workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per calendar year. If you file the request correctly and intend to take leave for an accepted reason, the leave should be granted. That said, too many employers resent having to grant such requests, and may take steps to stall yours or even deny it outright. If you believe that your employer is unlawfully preventing you from taking needed leave, consulting an experienced attorney can be a great help.
Specific Reasons & Qualifications
One common misconception is that FMLA leave can be taken for any reason; in reality, the Act specifies certain situations in which a worker can apply for leave. They are:
- The birth of a child (and caring for that child during the ensuing year);
- Officially adopting a child (and caring for that child during the ensuing year);
- To care for a spouse, minor child, or parent who has a “serious health condition;”
- To deal with one’s own “serious health condition;” and/or
- Any urgent need that stems from the employee’s spouse, adult child, or parent is a “covered” military member on active duty.
If one has a valid reason to seek FMLA leave, they may not be aware that they also have to individually qualify. The employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months (not necessarily within one calendar year) with the same employer, and they must work at a location where at least 50 employees are working within an area of 75 miles.
Know Your Rights
If you meet all the qualifications and have an acceptable reason to take FMLA leave, be aware that you have the right to take it either in one block of time, or in short periods – whichever works best for your specific situation. If necessary, it may also be possible for you to use any sick time or personal time in tandem with FMLA leave, so that you do get paid for some periods of time (as FMLA leave is always unpaid).
It is crucial to know your rights, particularly if you work for an employer that you suspect may retaliate or try to take advantage of you. For example, if you take FMLA leave, your employer must return you to either your original job, or to an equivalent position, with nearly-identical duties and benefits. You should also retain your seniority and any other employment “terms and conditions,” such as a preferred shift, upon your return to work. If you do not, you have the right to file a complaint with the relevant authorities.
Contact A New York Employment Discrimination Attorney
If you qualify for FMLA leave, you have the right to take it, regardless of your employer’s objections. However, too many people do not know their rights in such a situation, and may simply bow to their employer’s wishes. A New York City employment discrimination attorney from Mansell Law, LLC can help you understand your options if your employer is trying to prevent you from taking the leave you are entitled to take. Call our offices today at 646-921-8900 for a free consultation.