The Family and Medical Leave Act provides qualified employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave of absence from work in a year. During this time, an employer must continue the employee's group benefits and the employer cannot terminate the employee simply for taking a leave of absence. Job-related stress may be considered a qualifying condition that would enable an employee to take an FMLA-protected leave of absence.
Contact your employer to determine if your company is required to provide employees with a protected leave of absence under FMLA. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, only companies with 50 or more employees within 75 miles are required to provide protected leave. In addition, an employee must have worked for his current company for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours during that 12-month period to be eligible.
Inform your employer that you would like to take a leave of absence under FMLA. Review all paperwork carefully to determine what documentation you need to provide to your employer. Many employers will require certification from your doctor or health care provider stating that you are not able to work. Federal law requires your employer to give you 15 calendar days to gather all the necessary documentation.
Contact your health care provider and request written documentation that you are unable to work due to a serious health condition caused by stress. Your employer also may require your health care provider to complete a portion of an FMLA certification form similar to Form WH-380.
Complete, sign and turn in your required paperwork within 15 days of informing your employer of your request to take a leave of absence covered under the FMLA. Keep in mind that it is your responsibility to turn in all of your paperwork in the time frame required by the FMLA. Your employer is not required to extend the 15 calendar day deadline if you do not meet it.
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: The Family and Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disability Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Business Management Daily; Employee (Not You) is Responsible For Filing FMLA Certification on Time; January 2005
- Department of Labor: The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, as Amended
- The HR Specialist; Job Stress Can Count as FMLA-Eligible 'Serious' Condition; January 2007
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