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Top Four FMLA Qualifying Events

Top Four FMLA Qualifying Events

In many ways, the Americans with Disabilities Act changed the landscape of employment discrimination cases. “Disability” was broadly defined. This term included a wide range of physical and emotional conditions.

However, ADA matters are complex legal actions that require a rather high level of proof. Moreover, the ADA is employer-specific. It does not take into account all the aspects of a modern family.

The Family Medical Leave Act fills in many of these gaps. Workers are eligible for unpaid leave after only a minimal evidentiary showing. Additionally, employees may be entitled to rolling FMLA leave. Especially if a medical condition is an issue, many people have good days and bad days. An experienced attorney can help you arrange unpaid leave in the following situations.


Several other federal laws, most notably the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, already apply to this condition. But the FMLA provides an important supplement. Many women take FMLA leave if their doctors put them on bedrest at some point during their pregnancies. To claim this leave, women essentially just need a doctor’s note which says they are unable to perform at least one essential job function.

Parental Birth Leave

Many companies offer a few weeks of maternity leave, and an increasing number offer limited paternity leave as well. But the FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Unless they work for the same employer, both mothers and fathers are entitled to this leave. Additionally, if the employer approves, workers need not take the entire time in one block. Intermittent parental leave allows workers to adjust their daily schedules or perhaps extend their weekends. Employers can not retaliate against workers who claim FMLA leave and must offer them the same job, or a substantially similar one when they return to work.

Parental Adoption Leave

Most adoptions do not involve medical issues, like physical recovery from a birth. However, these joyful events are usually quite time-consuming, especially during the pre-adoption process. Home studies, court appearances, and other occasions usually occur during work hours. Additionally, in a private adoption situation, a worker may need time to care for the birth mother. The FMLA covers all these situations, as well as the emotional bonding with the new child once s/he enters your household.

Ill Family Member

In most cases, workers may take unpaid leave to care for a seriously-ill close family member (spouse, parent, or child). In some cases, particularly if a military deployment is involved, the list of eligible family members expands. The law defines a “serious” illness as:

  • Severe trauma injury, like a broken leg,
  • Serious illness, like cancer, and
  • Chronic illness, such as serious respiratory problems.

These individuals often need rides to the doctor as well as home healthcare. It is much more efficient, from both a financial and emotional perspective, for a family member to perform these functions. The FMLA recognizes this fact and protects these workers in these situations.

Reach Out to a Tenacious Lawyer

The FMLA gives you the time off you need, so you can focus at work. For a free consultation with an experienced employment law attorney in Chicago, contact the Law Office of Mitchell Kline. We routinely handle matters in Cook County and nearby jurisdictions.


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