If an immediate family member is injured or falls ill, your job is likely to be the last thing on your mind. Your primary concern will probably be the care and treatment of your loved one. This in turn may require you to take time off to look after them, but what does this mean for your employment? As Indiana is an employment-at-will state, you might worry that even asking for emergency leave could result in your dismissal.
However, under the Family and Medical Leave Act, you might be entitled to a period of unpaid leave to care for your family member. In general, the act covers time off to care for a spouse, parent or child. It can also come into play if you need to care for your newborn child, or if you personally become injured and unable to carry out your work responsibilities.
The period of time covered by the FMLA depends on the reason you require it. An attorney can inform you of the exact periods and other benefits to which you may be entitled. Of course, it is also important to stand up for you right to take this leave. If your employer resists, he or she might be breaking the law. This sort of behavior must be challenged in order to create a fairer work environment for you and any future employees.
Our page on the FMLA has more detailed information on the law itself and the requirements you must fulfill to be covered by the act. The act does not cover everyone, so it is vital to know where you stand.