There are times when people cannot go to work. While California residents value their jobs, in some situations their family has to come first. Taking care of a sick child, for example, is a time when parents may not be able to get to the office.

In these situations, qualifying employees can rely on the Family Medical Leave Act to protect their jobs in their absence. This federal law allows employees to leave for up to 12 weeks to take care of a new child, to recover from an injury or illness or to take care of a sick family member.

To qualify for FMLA leave, employees must work for a covered employer. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, covered employers include all public secondary and elementary schools, public sector agencies and most private companies with 50 or more employees.

If a person works for a covered employer the person is protected by FMLA if the employee has worked for that company for at least a year. Furthermore, during the past year, the employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours for the employer. Finally, in order to qualify for FMLA leave, the employee must physically work in a location that is within 75 miles of where at least 50 of the employer’s employees work.

There are also notice requirements that are necessary for employees to fulfill in order to properly receive FMLA leave. These rules can be difficult to apply and people may need legal help to determine if they qualify for FMLA leave or to determine if their employer has wrongfully denied FMLA leave. An attorney can help answer these questions.