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Am I entitled to Family Medical Leave?

Sometimes, you need to take unscheduled time off work for medical reasons, be they your own, or those of a family member. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows you to take up to 12 weeks off per year for certain medical and family needs. The time off will be unpaid, but your employer must hold your job open for you. Any form of retaliatory action is illegal.

These are the reasons you can ask for FMLA:

  • You are unable to work due to a serious health condition.
  • You have to care for a spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition.
  • You have a newborn child or are fostering or adopting a new child.

You can also claim 12 weeks of unpaid leave if a close family member has been called up to military service. Perhaps your wife has been called up, and you need time off work to look after the children. If the servicemember gets seriously injured or ill and requires you to care for them, you can ask for 26 weeks.

However, the FMLA does not apply to all employees. To qualify your employer must be:

  • A school.
  • A public agency, be that federal or state.
  • A private employer who has employed at least 50 people, for at least 20 weeks in the last year.

You, as an employee, must have:

  • Worked for your employer for at least one year.
  • Worked 1,250 hours for them during the last 12 months.

If your El Segundo employer refuses to allow you time off or retaliates against you for taking FMLA, consult an experienced employment law attorney to understand your options.