When it comes to new parents, their greatest concern is usually the well being of their child. Naturally, spending as much time as possible with their child is often their highest priority. While this is reasonable considering the amount of care a newborn child requires, it can sometimes create a difficult situation for parents who work full-time.
Fortunately for parents, the United States has laws that provide them with the opportunity to take time off in order to deal with serious family events. The legislation that ensure this time off is known as the Family and Medical Leave Act.
The Family and Medical Leave Act
Passed in 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act provides eligible workers with the option to take unpaid time off to address a several situations. They include,
· The birth or adoption of a child
· Caring for a child, spouse or parent who has a serious health condition
· Dealing with the employee’s own qualifying health condition
· Dealing with urgent needs after the deployment of a spouse in the military
If a worker does need to take time off to handle any of the aforementioned circumstances, the FMLA allows them to take 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected time off. However, if they take time off to care for a spouse who was seriously injured during the course of military service, the worker can take up to 26 weeks off.
In order to be eligible for the benefits provided by the FMLA, employees must meet the following requirements. They must have,
· Worked for their employer for 12 months
· Worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months before their leave
· Worked at a location where an employer has 50 employees within 75 miles of the work site
Employees are required to give their employers advanced notice of their time off 30 days before they leave. After this, an employer is required to notify the employee of their eligibility or their ineligibility. If the employee is ineligible, the employer is required to give the employee exact reasons for their ineligibility.
To provide additional information and to answer common questions, the United States Department of Labor has a website dedicated to the FMLA and associated information. However, this is no substitute for an experienced legal professional. If you are faced with any issues regarding the FMLA or paternity leave, it is highly suggested that you seek out the services of someone who specializes in this area of the law.