Taking a leave of absence is a dramatic decision that not all workers will experience. Sometimes, employees must take longer work breaks to attend to family or medical needs. When this happens, it is common for individuals to feel insecure about being away from work for a long time. Questions like “when I come back, will I still have my job?” may pop into one’s mind.
Fortunately, federal law protects employees’ jobs when they go on leave for family and medical reasons as long as certain eligibility requirements are met.
The FMLA protection
The Family And Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects employees who have to take a 12-week unpaid, job-protected leave for family and medical reasons which could be one or more of the following reasons:
- To look after a newborn within one year from birth
- To care for a newly adopted or foster child
- To tend to one’s spouse, child or parent with a serious medical condition
- To focus on a serious medical condition that prevents the employee from performing the essential function of their job
- To spend time with one’s spouse, child or parent who is on covered active duty before or after military deployment
The law prohibits an employer from terminating, refusing promotion or demoting an employee because of the latter’s request or actual family or medical leave.
Know your rights
Going on work time off without worrying about the security of your position is something that the law entitles an employee to have. It is a good practice to familiarize oneself with the protection FMLA provides.