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Is My Employer Required to Pay Me When I Take FMLA Leave?

Until relatively recently workers frequently struggled to choose between things such as staying home after the birth of a baby or caring for a sick family member and keeping their jobs because employers were not required to allow employees time off for medical emergencies. Fortunately, the Family and Medical Leave Act changed all of that. For many workers, the option is now there to take time off for medical emergencies without risking the loss of their job. One common question workers have when faced with the need to use FMLA time is “ Is my employer required to pay me when I take FMLA leave? ”

The Family and Medical Leave Act was originally passed in 1993 and allows covered employs to take 12 workweeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for:

  • the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
  • the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
  • to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
  • any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty”.

Up to 26 weeks of leave may be taken during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the servicemember’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).

Although your employer may elect to compensate you or you may be entitled to use sick pay or vacation pay when you take FMLA leave, your employer is not legally required to compensate you.

The purpose of the FMLA act is to ensure that an employee’s job is legally protected when leave is taken. Therefore, if you qualify for FMLA leave you will not need to worry about your job being there when you return; however, you may still need to worry about the compensation you will lose during your leave.

If you have additional questions or concerns about FMLA leave or employment law in general, contact the experienced Florida employment law attorneys at Celler Legal, P.A. by calling 954-716-8601 to schedule your appointment.