A Step-by-Step Guide to Filing an FMLA Claim

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How to File an FMLA Claim the Easy Way

Changes to your family through birth, adoption or foster care can be exciting, even if a little scary. Changes to your family can also be overwhelming when you or a family member are facing serious health issues, especially when it requires you to take significant amounts of work off. Fortunately, The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted to help protect the rights of parents and caregivers. If you need to use your FMLA benefits and are wondering how to , DoNotPay can help you navigate the process.

Do You Qualify For The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

Enacted in 1993, The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides a limited amount of job security for individuals who need to take a leave of absence from their job for qualifying family and medical situations. It’s a huge help to many families.

What Does FMLA Cover?

FMLA entitles eligible employees to receive up to 12 weeks of (unpaid) leave during a 12-month period.

You will be eligible for FMLA in certain situations:

  • The birth, adoption, or placement of a child through foster care (time taken off for pregnancy complications can be counted towards FMLA leave.)
  • Taking care of an immediate family member who has a serious health condition.
  • Needing to take time off for their serious health conditions.
  • Specific issues that affect members of the armed services or their families.

When the FMLA leave has ended, the employee is still eligible to return to their original position, or, they must be offered an equivalent job with similar working conditions, pay, and benefits.

Who Can Take FMLA?

This is important. To be eligible to file a FMLA claim, the employee must meet additional criteria:

  • Worked at their current employer for at least 12 months.
  • Worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months.
  • Work at a location in which the company has 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius (note that federal, state, and local public agencies are covered regardless of the number of employees.)

How You Can File a FMLA Claim

Although it is not difficult, in theory, to apply for FMLA, there will inevitably be paperwork, and possible follow-up paperwork, involved.

Here are some things you need to know:

  1. You are required to give at least 30 days notice of your plan to take FMLA if the reason is foreseeable (such as a pre-scheduled surgery.)
  2. If the need for FMLA is less than 30 days away, you should notify your employer as soon as possible.
  3. Contact your Human Resources (HR) department, or whoever handles benefits/FMLA as soon as you are ready to file for FMLA.
  4. Have the FMLA Medical Certification Form filled out and returned promptly.
  5. When you meet with HR, you can discuss any other paid leave options - whether your personal paid leave, paid leave offered by the state or your company, etc.
  6. Be aware that your employer has the right to request a second option (at their own expense.)

Always follow the FMLA requirements thoroughly, and your company's policies, to ensure that your FMLA request is processed as quickly as possible. Submitting forms promptly and being transparent with your employer will help the process go more smoothly.

MLA By State

Check out DoNotPay's state guides about FMLA:

ArkansasNew YorkNew JerseyOhio
AlaskaSouth CarolinaDelawareIndianaHawaii
IllinoisRhode IslandKentuckyVirginiaCalifornia
GeorgiaNew HampshireMaineColoradoNebraska
UtahNorth CarolinaArizonaWyoming
NevadaSouth DakotaMissouriMaryland
New MexicoMinnesotaMississippiVermont

File a FMLA Claim With the Help of DoNotPay

It can be confusing to understand your rights under FMLA. Whether you are overwhelmed with the research, are getting stonewalled by your human resources department, or have an emergency and need to immediately, DoNotPay can help you right now.

If you want to request leave but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in 6 easy steps:

  1. Tell us which state you work in (if you work in CA, NY, NJ, MA, WA, or DC, your state has a paid family leave program).

  2. Choose whether you want us to apply to the program for you or contact your employer with your leave request. If you want to apply for the program, we will walk you through the questions on the form and mail the application form for you.

  3. If you want us to contact your employer, enter your leave details, including the starting date, number of weeks of leave, and how many weeks of paid leave you are requesting (for example, you may take a 12 week leave, but only request 8 weeks of paid leave to make the request reasonable).

  4. Indicate whether you are the birth parent or not (birth parents have a few additional protections).

  5. Enter the name of your company and the person to address this request to.

  6. Select whether you want us to email the request to your employer on your behalf.

How Else Can DoNotPay Help?

Whether you need help filing claims in Florida, New York, California, New Jersey, or any other state, DoNotPay has the experience and expertise to help you expertly navigate the experience. We can also help you with a variety of other issues, including, but not limited to:

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