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Understand the Family and Medical Leave Act

Employers are required to comply with applicable employment laws, and there are many that you need to be familiar with if you own a business. One of these is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which entitles covered workers to take up to 12 weeks off work over the course of a 12-month period.

There are specific requirements for the FMLA, so you should ensure that you know what's covered. You likely only want to approve requests that fall under the act, but you also don't want to deny one that should have been approved.

Unless the situation is an emergency, the employee needs to give a notice that they are going to take time off work. This might be simply letting you know that they are expecting a baby and will be taking a leave when the baby is born. The employee can request the FMLA leave anytime within the first year of the child's life.

Besides childbirth, employees are covered by the FMLA in several cases, such as a child being placed in the home for an adoption or for foster care as long as the leave occurs within a year of the placement. A serious health condition that impacts the employee or an immediate family member qualifies for this type of leave.

There are also special protections for people who are caring for a service member who is injured or suffers an illness. These individuals are able to take 26 weeks off work within a 12-month period. The person requesting the leave must be the child, spouse, next of kin or parent of the service member.

If something happens and your company faces legal action over a decision regarding the FMLA, you need to be prepared to fight for your company. Knowing what options you have and understanding what steps you need to take is beneficial in these cases. By working with someone who's familiar with the FMLA, you can ensure that your company has policies in place to prevent further legal actions from being taken against your business.

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  1. Charles W. Dobbins, Jr.

    Charles earned his J.D. degree from the University of Virginia in 1974

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    Patrick T. Schmidt

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