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How can I take time off work to care for a family member?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a federal law, provides certain employees in all states up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to care for themselves, a sick family member (limited to a spouse, child or parent), or a new child without losing their jobs or health care insurance. Note that this law applies only to companies with 50 or more employees and that an employee must have worked at least 52 days full-time or 1,250 hours during the previous year before taking FMLA leave.

In addition, some states have laws that expand leave protection. For example, they may include care for relatives who are not covered by FMLA, such as grandparents, siblings and in-laws. Other states have programs that continue to pay workers part of their wages while they take time off to care for an ill family member.

For information about family and medical leave laws in your state, contact your state department of labor.

For additional information, contact:

U.S. Department of Labor

Provides detailed information about the Family and Medical Leave Act.

National Partnership for Women and Families

National organization that provides information for workers and policymakers about the Family and Medical Leave Act and other state policies regarding paid leave.