The Family Medical Leave Act is in place to help you get through potentially difficult circumstances in your life that may otherwise affect your employment. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, only certain workers are eligible for protection under the FMLA. To receive the benefits, your private employer must have 50 or more employees that are covered under the law, or you must work for a government agency. Furthermore, before being eligible for FMLA you must have been employed with an eligible employer for at least 12 months with no breaks lasting longer than seven years. In those 12 months, you must have worked 1250 hours prior to the start date of your leave. There must also be at least 50 employees within 75 miles of the site at which you work for you to be eligible under the law.
The DOL states that if you have a spouse or other family member who becomes seriously sick with a health condition, or if you become too sick to work, you may use the leave to help get you through the illness while knowing that the law protects your employment status and may prevent you employer from firing you due to the situation.
The FMLA also covers other life-changing situations you may face. This includes pregnancy-related conditions like severe morning sickness and bed rest. It also covers the ability to attend prenatal medical appointments as well as time to bond with a new child, whether they are born into your family or adopted. Additionally, military families are able to use FMLA leave during certain deployment situations. This information is intended to be educational in nature and should not be taken as legal advice.