ASK THE LAWYER By: Daniel A. Gwinn, Esq. “What are my options?”
QUESTION: My spouse is about to undergo weekly cancer treatment and I want to be off work to drive him to and from the hospital and to stay with him while he undergoes therapy and while he recuperates at home. I have exhausted my personal and vacation time at work. I just need one day off each week for the next few weeks. What are my options?
ANSWER: The Family and Medical Leave Act allows an employee to take unpaid leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition. The Family and Medical Leave Act offers intermittent leave for situations like the one you described. If your employer employs 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius, it is obligated to offer leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. If you have worked the requisite hours (1,250) in the last 12 month period, and you haven’t used any Family and Medical Leave time to date, you are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. The 12 weeks do not have be used consecutively, and may be used intermittently. Any days you are off work will be deducted from the 12 weeks of leave granted to you under the Family and Medical Leave Act. While the Family and Medical Leave Act does not require your employer to pay you while you are away from work on leave, it does protect your legal rights to your keep your job.
Because the need for the leave you want is foreseeable, you should give notice of your intention to exercise your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act to your employer as soon as practicable. Your human resources department is required to provide the necessary forms for you to complete a leave request. Good luck!
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ASK THE LAWYER
By: Daniel A. Gwinn, Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law