Most people have no idea of what is legally required to make a valid claim under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  In fact, it is far less complicated than most people think.  Let me explain.

What is the FMLA? 

The FMLA is a federal law that allows people to take unpaid time off from work for a serious medical condition.  It has been in effect since 1992.  It does not apply to all employers.  Large ones only.  Also, Connecticut has their own state FMLA, which provides even more rights.  But for this blog post, I am referring to the federal FMLA, the foundation for most other state FMLA laws. 

Why is it confusing to most people? 

Most people in Connecticut have no idea that they even have the right to take leave under the FMLA.  For those who know about the law, they frequently believe that the process is long, complicated, probably not applicable to their situation.  Often, FMLA is confused with short term disability time off.  Typically, employees are given a complicated form from the human resources department with little explanation.  They are told to fill out the form to see if their claim is "approved."  Often, large corporations out-source their FMLA human resources services, which further complicates the situation.  

Two requirements to make a leave claim?

While it might seem complicated, it is not.  There are only two requirements for you to make out your FMLA claim.  First, you must actually request leave.  Second, your request for leave must be due to a serious medical condition, or other qualifying event.  You don't have specially reference the FMLA.  All you need to do is to request leave for a serious medical condition.  That is it.

If your employer doubts that your medical condition is serious enough, or has other questions, they can inquire of the condition, and ask to provide necessary medical documentation.  

But the bottom line is this; once you (1) request leave for (2) a serious medical condition, you have significant rights.  

If you have any questions about the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1992, or the Connecicut FMLA, we are here to help.  Contact The Bartinik Law Firm LLC. 100 Fort Hill Road, Groton, Connecticut 860-445-8521.

Peter J. Bartinik, Jr.
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Civil Trial Attorney, Practicing Law in Connecticut
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