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Is the Family Medical Leave Act just for pregnancies?

Most workers who are parents probably remember taking some time off of work when their new son or daughter arrived. Typically, pregnant woman take a certain time off, often 12 weeks, following the birth of a child; this time off is an entitlement for most Michigan workers under the Family Medical Leave Act. The FMLA, though, has many important functions and is used by employees for much more than pregnancies and welcoming a new child. Those wanting to know more about their rights under the FMLA can speak with a Detroit employment law attorney.

Overall, the purpose of the FMLA, an important 1993 federal law, is to allow workers to find a beneficial balance between work responsibilities and personal responsibilities. The law allows for eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave off of work in the event of the birth of a child. In some instances, paid leave may be an option if earned. The same 12-week period can also be used for the placement of a child in foster care or adoption.

In addition, the FMLA may be used to allow workers to take time off to take care for a family member who has a serious health problem - eligible family members usually include spouses, children or the worker's parent. If a worker suffers his or her own serious health problem, the FMLA may be utilized to permit that person to take time off to recuperate. The FMLA is different from workers' compensation, though; an employment law attorney can explain the important differences and which laws affect which work-related situations.

The FMLA is about much more than welcoming babies into a family, although that is a key element and one which should not be glossed-over by employers. The FMLA is about making sure workers are able to take care of serious responsibilities that can impact both their work and their life. Employers who infringe upon their workers' FMLA rights may be committing a form of workplace discrimination and may be breaking the law. A Michigan workplace discrimination attorney can be a valuable resource in the face of potential discrimination.

Source: Michigan State University, "FMLA Frequently Asked Questions," accessed May 31, 2016

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