Make sure that you meet the requirements of the FMLA law:

  • you've worked enough hours
  • your company has enough employees
  • the medical condition is covered
  • the family member (if the leave is not for you) is covered
  •  How to get FMLA Leave:

    • When you tell your boss that you will be taking Family/Medical Leave, your boss can ask for a form from your doctor about the medical condition. You have 15 days to return that form. If it takes longer than 15 days, your employer may delay your leave until they get the form. The form and a pamphlet explaining FMLA to doctors is in the Resource Box on this page.
    • You must tell your boss 30 days ahead of time that you will need Family/Medical Leave (if it's possible, like an operation that’s scheduled in advance). In an emergency, you should tell your boss that you will be using FMLA as soon as possible (within 1 or 2 days) after the time off. Your boss can delay your leave if you don't give notice when you could have. Always give as much notice as you can.
    • It’s best to tell your boss in writing and keep a copy. You can use the form in the Resource Box.
    • Your boss has to give you a written notice of your rights and responsibilities while on FMLA leave. Read it and keep a copy.
    • Be sure that you and your boss understand and agree to the day you will return to work.
    • Your boss can send you to the company doctor to confirm the serious medical condition. You do not have to agree to be treated by the company doctor to get FMLA time off.
    • Keep copies of medical records and all the paperwork you get from, or give to, your boss.
    • You have to follow the normal rules for calling-in when you’re going to be on FMLA leave. (For example, many rules say that you have to call-in before the start of your shift.) If there is a good reason for not calling-in, you still need to be able to show that you told your boss as soon as possible that you would not be at work.
    • You have to try to schedule your leave so it’s as convenient as possible for your company, but not if it endangers someone’s health.
    • If your boss says that you’re not eligible for FMLA, he has to tell you in writing. Check for yourself if you're really not eligible.

    Keep a folder or manila envelop with all the paperwork about your FMLA leave, including copies of:

    • your letter or form telling your boss that you need FMLA leave (or state family or medical leave)
    • requests to use benefit time (such as sick or vacation time)
    • forms that your doctor filled out
    • notes about phone calls with anyone from the company
    • emails with anyone from the company
    • company's leave policy

    What to find out:

    • Does your boss offer paid maternity leave? Unpaid maternity leave?
    • Does your boss offer short-term disability (STD) benefits? Does your state?
      • How long is STD? What is the pay?
      • Is there a waiting period?
      • Can I take more time off if there are complications?
      • How do I apply?
    • How many vacation, sick, personal, or PTO do you have accrued?
    • Are you eligible for FMLA leave? Are you eligible for your state's family medical leave?
    • If you take unpaid leave, will that affect your vacation time accrual?
    • How do you pay for health benefits while you're on leave?
    • Does unpaid leave affect any of my other benefits?
    • If you're planning to get pregnant, find out if your employer has a private disability insurance that you can pay for (make sure you understand what it covers).