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Qualifying for leave under the FMLA

Michigan families that have undergone significant changes may find that they need to take some time off from work to adjust to their new life. This is where knowledge of employment law and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can be useful. The decision to invoke FMLA can be a difficult one for families to make, as they will have to decide how many weeks, if any, they can manage without pay.

Under the FMLA, eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave over the course of a 12-month period. Once the 12 weeks are up, the employee are legally allowed to return to his or her original job or its equivalent.

However, not all companies are covered by FMLA regulations, nor are all employees eligible for FMLA. In order to be covered by FMLA, an employer must currently have, or have had the previous year, 50 or more employees for 20 or more workweeks.

An employee for a company covered by FMLA can become eligible to take leave if they have worked at least 1,250 hours during a period of at least 12 months. They must also work in a place with or within 75 miles of a place with 50 or more employees.

Employers are required to grant FMLA leave to employees with newborn children or newly adopted or foster children, employees with serious health conditions and employees who must care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition. Employers must also grant up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave to any employee with a, "qualifying exigency" arising out of active duty for service members.

Employees must make a reasonable effort to give their employer 30 days' notice of their intent to take leave and provide their employer with information about their situation so that the employer can determine whether their situation qualifies for FMLA leave. Accordingly, if an employer prevents one from taking FMLA leave they are entitled to take, or if an employer allows an employee to take FMLA leave and fails to allow them to return to work afterwards, there may be a legitimate FMLA based claim against the employer.

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