The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows workers across the United States, including in Hawaii, to take unpaid leave from work. Even if their company does not offer paid time off or medical leave, workers can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off in specific circumstances without losing their job or facing other employment repercussions.
The FMLA applies to employees who have been with their current company for a minimum of 12 months and have put in at least 1,250 work hours. The business that employs them must also meet certain minimum requirements, including having at least 50 employees.
In what circumstances can workers request unpaid leave under the FMLA?
When they have a medical issue
One of the most important uses of FMLA leave is to take time off for medical treatment or recovery. Someone who needs surgery or who gets hurt in a car crash can use the FMLA to secure unpaid time off from work.
When they have a child
Recovering from the birth of a child takes weeks, and the FMLA gives a postpartum woman an opportunity to stay home with her child. Families that adopt or have a foster child placed with them can also qualify for FMLA leave.
When caring for a family member
If your child breaks a leg at a soccer game or your husband starts chemotherapy treatment, you may need to provide caregiver support to family members. The FMLA allows you to take a leave of absence to provide medical support for a loved one with a serious health issue.
Knowing if your circumstances may qualify you for FMLA leave can help you make use of the federal employment protections.