The federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) provides workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid and job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons, or for any “qualifying exigency” arising out of the fact that a covered military member is on active duty, or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty, in support of a contingency operation.

The FMLA applies to all private-sector employers with 50 or more workers. Some Local 804 contracts have medical leave that allows more time off than Federal law. Check your contract or call Local 804 to find out how much leave you can take.

You may take leave for the birth and care of a newborn; for adoption or foster care of a child; to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child or parent) with a serious health condition; or for your own serious health condition. If you qualify for FMLA, your employer cannot fire you for taking leave.

To be eligible for leave, a worker must have worked for the same covered employer for a total of 12 months and must also have worked for a total of 1,250 hours or more in the previous 12 months.

If you're taking FMLA leave, be sure to follow all of your employer's guidelines for taking leave.  An employee may be required to provide advance leave notice and medical certification. Taking of leave may be denied if requirements are not met.