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How do you qualify for FMLA benefits?

When you or a family member has a serious medical condition, you may wonder about your ability to take care of your responsibilities at home without jeopardizing your job security. The Family Medical Leave Act allows you to balance personal and/or medical needs with your work. If you qualify, you may take up to 12 weeks a year of unpaid leave with an understanding that when you come back, your employer will return you to either the same job or an equivalent position. 

According to FindLaw, you may qualify for FMLA benefits if you have a serious health condition, although you may need to provide medical certification. If a family member, such as a daughter, son, parent or spouse, has a serious health condition and requires your care, FMLA benefits may also be available. If you welcome a new child into your family, whether through birth, adoption or foster care placement, you may be able to use your FMLA benefits both before and after the child's arrival. 

Only certain employees qualify for FMLA benefits. There are criteria that both you and your employer must meet. Your employer must have 50 or more employees on the payroll, and they must live within a 75-mile radius of the worksite. Prior to the start of your FMLA leave, you must have already worked at least 1,250 hours for the employer over a one-year period.

Additionally, you must have worked for your employer for an aggregate of at least 12 months, although these need not be consecutive as long as the gap is not longer than seven years. Even that requirement has exceptions. If you and your employer entered into a written agreement stating that the gap between your months of employment can be longer than seven years, you can still qualify. You are also still eligible if military service caused the interruption. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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