Compared to many other countries, the US doesn’t have that many guarantees when it comes to employment. Many employees are at-will which means that they can be fired without cause. This gives employers a lot of leeways when it comes to removing people.
However, one guarantee is protected that covers a lot of people. The Family Medical Leave Act is protection for employees that need to take leave to take care of a family member. Millions of people are eligible to take advantage of it so they can stay home and not fear getting fired.
There are a few things that every employee should know about when it comes to the FMLA that we will cover in this article.
1 – The type of leave it covers
The most common way that employees take advantage of the FMLA Indiana or for whichever state they live in is childbirth. The leave for childbirth is unpaid but if you take the time in one block during the first year of birth then you are guaranteed to keep your job and benefits.
The key is that it has to be consecutive so you can’t take off a month now and then another month within the year. This even applies to adoptive parents who need to look after a child they just adopted.
There is also plenty of protection for those that need to take care of a parent, spouse, or child that has a serious health condition. Not all relatives are covered, however. There are some exceptions for siblings and others but the case has to be exceptional to be covered.
2 – How to notify an employer that you need to take leave
You don’t have to request that you be given FMLA as it is guaranteed. However, you do need to notify your employer that you intend to take it. This notification has to be done 30 days before the date you plan to start.
Your employer could ask for a doctor’s documentation that you are required to stay with the family member and you will have to provide it within 15 days of it being requested.
There are times when it’s not possible to put in a notification 30 days ahead as emergencies do happen. You will need to give notice as soon as you can to your employer if there is an emergency.
3 – Are you eligible?
Not everybody is able to take FMLA, unfortunately. For instance, part-time employees are not able to claim protection and may lose their job if they do need to take leave for a medical emergency.
You also need to work at a company for at least a year and have worked at least 1,250 hours in that year to be eligible to use FMLA protections. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have options, however. You can talk to your human resources department and ask about short term disability insurance in place of the FMLA if you need to take time off and haven’t worked long enough at your job.