Whether you were just hired or are starting another year of employment, accumulating vacation time makes one think about a wide range of things they want to do with this time. For many employees in Oregon, one does not expect to use up all of this time to take time off for the birth or a child or to care for a sick loved one. Even if vacation time is used for these reasons, oftentimes, this is not enough time to address the time needed to take care of these needs. This is where the Family and Medical Leave Act or FMLA can come into action.

Qualifications for FMLA leave

Eligibility for FMLA leave can be broken down into three categories. This includes the arrival of a new child in the family, the need to care for a family member with a serious health condition and when the employee has their own serious health condition that prevents him or her from performing their job duties.

Arrival of a new child

This category can be broken down even further. If a female employee is pregnant, FMLA leave could apply if a serious health condition arises during pregnancy or a doctor places the employee on bed rest. Parental leave is available for a mother after giving birth as well as for the father to help care for the mother and child. Finally, this type of leave is available for those adopting or fostering a child. For any of these leaves, one could seek up to 12 weeks; however, these weeks do not have to run concurrently and could be intermittent if approved.

Care for a family member

FMLA leave could be used to care for a family member currently dealing with a serious health condition. However, it is important to note that this only applies for spouses, children or parents. An employee’s in-laws or grandparents are not included in this category.

Own serious health condition

For an employee to qualify for this, he or she must have experienced at least three consecutive calendar days of incapacitation and result in at least two visits to a health care provider for the same condition, occurring within 30 days of the first day of incapacitation

Seeking approval

Even when one has a qualifying reason to seek FMLA leave, an employee must obtain approval. This process is not always straightforward, and issues could arise. If an employee is denied or has encountered issues upon his or her return from a FMLA leave, it is important to understand one’s legal rights and what options they have to protect them.

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