How to Apply for FMLA Online In 6 Easy Steps
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows workers to take time off for family obligations such as the birth of a child. Qualifying for this benefit is easy; however, knowing how to apply for FMLA usually isn't. With regulations that can vary from state to state, along with some workplace-specific requirements, getting approved for FMLA can often be a challenge.
Preparing for a new addition to the family is always hectic. Struggling to decipher FMLA requirements or fill out mountains of paperwork can make it even more so. Fortunately, you do not have to go it alone when DoNotPay offers a streamlined solution.
Who is Eligible for Parental Leave?
According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), mothers and fathers may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month period to:
- Care for a newborn child
- Bond with a newly-placed foster or adopted child
If requested as parental leave, FMLA must take place within 12 months of one of the above events. In addition, some states or individual employers may offer paid parental leave; however, it is not federally mandated for them to do so.
What is FMLA?
Signed into law in 1993, the Family Medical Leave Act allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month period. FMLA is a federal program that provides job protection and ensures that your health insurance benefits continue during and after your time off.
What Does FMLA Cover?
FMLA is designed to provide much-needed time off to recuperate from an illness or care for a family member. Accordingly, it is often used as a form of parental leave, particularly by those whose employer does not offer paid leave. Aside from parental leave, it is often used to assist someone who is recovering from surgery or suffering from a serious medical condition such as cancer.
Becoming Eligible for FMLA
FMLA has a wide reach, but that doesn't mean that everyone is automatically eligible. To be covered by FMLA, you must:
- Have worked for your employer for at least 12 months
- Have clocked at least 1,250 hours during that timeframe
- Be employed by a company with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius of your job site.
Can I Get Paid While on FMLA?
FMLA is an unpaid benefit. If you need to take paid leave, a few options you may have available are:
- Using sick or personal days
- Cashing in your vacation days
- Applying for paid leave (if your company offers any)
- Requesting paid parental leave (if you live in a state that offers it)
How to Apply for FMLA
Those desiring FMLA are required to provide at least 30 days’ notice before the birth of a child. In case of adoption, such notice may not be possible, in which case you should give as much heads-up as possible. According to the DOL, you should also supply enough information for your employer to make a "reasonable determination" as to whether or not you qualify for FMLA.
Mothers who require time off to recover after childbirth should submit an FMLA medical certification form signed by a doctor. While fathers do not need to recover physically from childbirth, they are nonetheless authorized parental leave the same as mothers. As such, having an FMLA medical certification form could still be a useful document when requesting time off.
FMLA by State
Does your state offer any additional benefits under the Family Medical Leave Act? It's important to research all the possibilities in order to choose the best benefit for your particular situation. DoNotPay is your one-stop-shop for state-specific information regarding FMLA parental benefits.
Do All States Offer Parental Leave Programs?
Currently, only nine states along with the District of Columbia offer, or plan to offer, their own paid parental leave program. You could be entitled to paid leave if you live in one of the following states:
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
How to Apply for FMLA Yourself
To obtain parental leave, you will need to visit your HR department. This isn't always easy for new parents to do. An early birth, unexpected adoption, or the sudden placement of a foster child can certainly throw your schedule through a loop. And speaking with an HR rep can be further complicated if that person is working from home or only available during certain business hours.
Most HR reps are very meticulous when it comes to FMLA paperwork. Not only that, but some companies have additional forms for their employees to fill out as well. Navigating through all the requirements and ensuring you check every box can be tedious but is something you must do if you are to safeguard your job.
What if I Can't Apply for FMLA Myself?
What happens if you don't have time or do not know how to apply for FMLA? You'll want to be ready when that new family member arrives, so time is of the essence. Rather than getting bogged down in all the details, you can let DoNotPay handle things for you. With DoNotPay, you can streamline the process and take care of things in a manner that is more in keeping with your own schedule.
Apply for FMLA With the Help of DoNotPay
It's entirely possible to skip your HR department and all its internal bureaucracy with assistance from DoNotPay. What's more, you can do so without compromising or reducing your parental leave benefits whatsoever.
How to request parental leave using DoNotPay:
If you want to request parental leave but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in 6 easy steps:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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).
- Indicate whether you are the birth parent or not (birth parents have a few additional legal protections).
- Enter the name of your company and the person to address this request to.
- Select whether you want us to email the request to your employer on your behalf.
Why Use DoNotPay to Apply for FMLA?
Welcoming a newborn, adopting a child, or preparing for a foster child all come with an extensive to-do list. With a million other things to get ready, the last thing you need is to be hassled over your parental leave request. Or worse, find out that your request has been denied because of some glitch or technicality. DoNotPay offers a quick, easy, and successful solution to the problem of getting approved for FMLA.
DoNotPay Works Across All Companies With the Click of a Button
Here at DoNotPay, we can help you deal with your HR department much in the same way we can help you resolve a host of other problems. In fact, our business model allows us to work across a number of companies and groups with only a click or two of your mouse. If you're struggling with an ordinary but time-consuming task, chances are we have a simple solution for you.
What Else Can DoNotPay Do?
What are some of the other things that DoNotPay can help you with? A few things we could provide assistance with include:
As the world's first robot lawyer, DoNotPay specializes in helping people fight bureaucracy, slice through red tape, and get the results they deserve. Don't struggle alone, when our advocates are standing by ready to assist you.
Get in Touch With DoNotPay
Are you ready to file your FMLA request for parental leave? Allow us to make it easy for you. Contact us today and have confidence knowing that you will be ready to receive your little one whenever the time comes.