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Are you covered by the FMLA?

It can be tough enough balancing work and family life, even when things are going well. But what happens when someone close to you falls ill or is severely injured? They may be unable to care for themselves, or need constant attention, but you still have to work. How can you convince your employer to give you the time off to care for your loved one in their time of need? In some cases, the Family Medical Leave Act may be the answer.

To be protected by the FMLA, you need to have been working for your employer for a minimum of 12 months. You also need to have worked at least 1,250 hours for that employer during those 12 months. The FMLA also only applies if your employer has 50 or more employees. However, if all these conditions apply, you may be covered. If so, you may be entitled to up to12 weeks of unpaid leave if you have a serious health condition.

As the Society for Human Resource Management explains, the FMLA also covers some instances where a member of your immediate family becomes seriously ill or injured. The act covers parents, spouses and children, including adopted, foster or stepchildren under the age of 18. Children of 18 years or older are also covered if they are deemed incapable of caring for themselves as a result of a physical or mental disability. The FMLA also covers service members and veterans if he or she is your child, spouse or parent, or if you are his or her next of kin.

It can feel like a complicated matter to figure out, especially if you are consumed by worry for your loved one's well-being. On top of this, the restrictions vary somewhat from state to state. However, an attorney can able to advise you on whether you are entitled to any leave and may be able to support you if your employer is resistant to you exercising this right.

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