Some employees are allowed to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period in connection with a medical emergency. Employees are generally eligible to take FMLA leave if they have worked for their employer for at least 12 months, have worked for at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months (an average of 24 hours per week), and work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles. FMLA leave can be taken to deal with an illness of the employee or certain family members. Qualifying family members include the employee’s spouse, children, and parents (but not parent “in laws”). An employer can be liable for damages where they fire an employee while on FMLA leave or refuse to reinstate the employee upon their return to work.
The employer is also prohibited from firing or otherwise retaliating against an employee for taking FMLA leave. You should be suspicious if the employer reprimands you, cuts your pay, changes your duties or work schedule, or fires you in the weeks following your request to take FMLA leave or your return to work from such leave.