Dear Donna,

My dad’s health recently took a turn for the worse. I want to take time off, but I am concerned I will lose my job.

My coworker said I should look in to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). I thought that was for new parents.

What is FMLA, and how can it benefit other caregivers?


Dorothy from Saline MI


How the Family and Medical Leave Act Can Help Family Caregivers


Dear Dorothy,

It is a common misconception that FMLA is just for new parents. That probably has to do with the fact that many people refer to it as maternity leave.

This act can actually be very beneficial to working family caregivers. Here’s how FMLA applies to caregivers, including the rights and protections it provides.


What is the Family and Medical Leave Act?


FMLA provides employees who meet specific requirements with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected time off each year. For the benefit to apply, the caregiver must be caring for an immediate family member with a serious health condition.


5 Ways FMLA Helps Caregivers


  1. FMLA allows you time off to care for your loved ones.

If you are a family caregiver, you will probably need to miss some work. FMLA allows you to take up to 12 weeks off in a given year to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

The time off is unpaid, and the person you are caring for must be an immediate family member. That means in-laws are not included.

  1. FMLA protects your health insurance.

FMLA protects your health insurance, including any family members on your plan. This is huge because health care is expensive without insurance. It’s a relief to know that you don’t have to worry about losing coverage unless you fail to pay your monthly premium.

  1. FMLA protects your job.

Although FMLA allows you to take time off, you might still be concerned about losing your position. FMLA requires your employer to give you back your position (or one with the same level of responsibility) when you return.

  1. FMLA can give you flexibility.

One of the best things about FMLA is that you aren’t required to take it all at once. You have the option to use it in intervals or work shorter shifts. This can be incredibly beneficial if you want to spread the time out or only take time off when you need to.

  1. FMLA allows you to be there for your loved ones.

Most importantly, FMLA allows you to be there for your loved ones when they need it most.

I hope this helps you better understand FMLA and how it can benefit working caregivers.


When You Don’t Quality for FMLA


If you do not qualify for FMLA, you may want to consider looking in to assisted living for your loved one.

Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square Assisted Living location, provides support to families and seniors looking to transition to assisted living. Contact us for more information.



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