The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) granted qualifying employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off to attend to personal and familial needs. Although our federal government does not mandate paid sick time or paid parental leave, FMLA provides the opportunity to take time off for these reasons and return to the same, or a reasonably similar, position. Some individual states have additional mandates in place for paid sick time or parental leave.
Not all medical needs qualify an employee for FMLA leave. Below are the events for which a qualifying employee is permitted to take off under this act.
Birth, Foster, or Adoption of a Child
When employees do not have parental leave as part of their benefit packages, they may use FMLA leave as such. Parental leave under FMLA is not limited to the birth of a biological child – it may be used to bond with an adopted or foster child as well.
Caring for a Loved One with a Serious Medical Condition
If a member of the employee’s immediate family is suffering from a serious medical condition that requires the employee to attend to him or her, the employee may use FMLA leave for this purpose. Immediate family includes the employee’s spouse, children, parents, and siblings. Typically, in-laws, nieces and nephews, and cousins do not qualify as immediate family for FMLA leave.
Receiving Care for your Own Serious Medical Condition
An employee may also use FMLA leave to recover from his or her own medical condition that prevents him or her from working.
Qualifying Exigencies related to a Loved One’s Active Military Duty or Service in the Reserve or National Guard
- Childcare and related activities for the service member;
- Issues related to the service member’s short notice deployment;
- Caring for the service member’s parent who cannot care for him- or herself;
- Attending military events like family support programs and official ceremonies;
- Attending counseling as needed related to the family member’s military service;
- Making or altering financial or legal arrangements related to the family member’s military service;
- Engaging in post-deployment activities like official ceremonies, reintegration briefings, and addressing issues related to the loved one’s death;
- Spending time with the loved one while he or she is on rest and recuperation leave; and
- Any other condition the employee and employer agree can reasonably be considered a qualifying exigency.
Work with an Experienced Illinois Employment Lawyer
If you qualify for FMLA leave, you have the right to take up to 12 weeks off and return to the same or a reasonably similar position once the leave period ends. If you were denied this right or faced retaliation for exercising it, work with an experienced employment lawyer to pursue justice and compensation for your related damages. Contact our team at The Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline today to set up your initial consultation in our office.