Taking Time Off From Work: Family & Medical Leave (FMLA)

This article was produced by CLS, GHLA, NHLAA, and SLS.

Taking Time Off From Work: Family & Medical Leave (FMLA)

Time off from Work for Family or Medical Leave 

A special law, called the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), gives many people the right to take time off from work to care for a child, parent, spouse or yourself. 

Does FMLA cover me? 

The federal FMLA covers you if: 

  • There are 50+ employees at your workplace, and
  • You have worked 1250 hours during the last 12 months, not counting vacation, holidays, or sick leave

The state FMLA covers you if:

  • There are 75+ employees at your workplace, and
  • You have worked 1000 hours during the last 12 months, not counting vacation, holidays, or sick leave

When does FMLA cover me?

The federal and state FMLA cover you if you, your child, your parent, or spouse has a serious health problem.

How does FMLA define a serious health problem?

FMLA says a serious health problem is when you (or your child, parent, or spouse) are:

  • In a hospital or unable to work (or go to school) for more than 3 days, and
  • Under the care of a health provider,

The state FMLA also covers you if the sick person is your parent-in-law or civil union partner.

FMLA also covers time off to care for a veteran who was injured on active duty or who has a serious health problem. The vet must by your spouse, child, parent, or next of kin.

Does FMLA cover maternity leave?

Yes. Federal and state FMLA cover you for maternity leave and for a newly adopted child and a foster child.

You may have to use your vacation days or sick leave before you can use FMLA leave.

Will I get paid during my FMLA leave?

No. FMLA leave is not paid.

How much leave can I get?

Federal FMLA allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per 12-month period. State FMLA allows up to 16 weeks of unpaid leave per 24-month period (or 24 weeks if you are a state employee).

Do I have to take my leave all at once?

No. You can take it in a way that meets the sick person’s medical needs. For example, you can take it all at once, as needed, or reduce your regular hours so you can go to weekly doctor’s appointments.

Will I lose my health benefits when I am on leave?

No. Your employer must continue your health benefits while you are on leave. You will pay the same amount for your benefits as you did before.

Your employer must also continue providing the same coverage for your other benefits (if you have them), such as: life and disability insurance, sick leave, educational benefits, and pension.

Can I get my old job back after my leave is over?

You have the right to have your old job back. If that job isn’t available, your employer must give you an equivalent job with equivalent pay.

If you took the leave because you were sick and you can’t do your old job any more, the state FMLA law says your employer must give you a job that is suited to your physical condition.

How do I tell my employer that I want to take FMLA leave?

Tell your supervisor as soon as possible that you need to take a leave and explain why. Unless it’s an emergency, you must give 30 days’ notice or as much notice as you can.

Note: You do not have to ask for the leave in writing (but it is better if you do).

After you tell your supervisor, someone from your company will explain your FMLA rights and explain what information and documents you will have to provide.

Important! To protect your job, follow all of your employer’s rules for asking for the leave.  

What if my employer does not know about FMLA rights?

Your employer can learn more about FMLA rights from the CT Department of Labor website: www.ctdol.state.ct.us/wgwkstnd/fmla.htm

What if my employer fires me because of an FMLA leave?

It is against the law for your employer you to:

  • Refuse to give you FMLA leave,
  • Limit your FMLA leave,
  • Fire you because you want (or are taking or took) an FMLA leave, or
  • Punish you in some way because of an FMLA leave.

If you have problems with your employer because of an FMLA leave, call:

  • CT Department of Labor: 860-263-6790, or
  • U.S. Department of Labor: 866-487-9243

They can give you information or help you file a claim.

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