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Know your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act

Finding out that you will need to take time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is something that might seem a bit unsettling. You do have specific rights under this act that you should know about before you take your time off.

One thing that you should remember is that the FMLA guarantees you unpaid leave. There are some instances in which you will be able to get paid leave if you have accrued some; however, you will need to find out if this is the case for you so that you can know what to expect.

Another thing that you should keep in mind is that your insurance coverage should remain the same if you are covered under a group policy. If you are required to make premium payments, you will have to continue to do so. If you don't usually have to pay, that should remain the same. The coverage for your family members should also stay the same if they are covered under your policy.

Upon your return from leave under this act, you are guaranteed to have an equivalent job to the one that you had when you left for your leave. This doesn't mean identical; however, the benefits, pay, location, shift and conditions should be the same.

Before you take a leave that you feel is covered under this act, you should verify that it is a qualifying situation. If something happens and you feel like you aren't getting the coverage you should, you do have the option of pursuing legal action to enforce the conditions of the act.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division, "Fact Sheet #28A: Employee Protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act," accessed Aug. 21, 2017

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