Family and Medical Leave North Carolina

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires your employer to grant up to twelve weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for any of the following conditions:

  • Pregnancy and/or the birth of a child
  • A serious injury or illness that prevents you from doing your job
  • The need to care for a spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition
  • Placement of a child in your home (adoption or foster care)
  • A “qualifying exigency” related to a family member in the military

FMLA Leave for Military Caregivers

A qualifying exigency for families of active military personnel can happen for a variety of different reasons. If, for example, your spouse is in the military reserves and is recalled to active duty—requiring you to take on full-time child care—this is likely to qualify. If a member of your family serving in the military is severely injured, you can qualify for up to 26 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave in order to care for them.

FMLA Eligibility Requirements

In order to qualify for most FMLA leave, you must have worked for your employer for at least the prior 12 months. If the facility where you work has less than 50 employees or is located more than 75 miles away from your employer’s main office, you may not be eligible for FMLA leave.

FMLA Limitations

In order for the Family and Medical Leave Act to protect your job, you may need to take additional steps as prescribed by your employer. Employers do not always  provide clear information about FMLA leave requirements ahead of time, so it is important to inform yourself of the facts.

Your employer has the legal right to refuse FMLA leave if certain conditions are not met. For example:

  • If you have vacation time or other paid leave, your employer can require you to exhaust all of the paid leave before using any FMLA leave. However, if they do so, this paid leave does not count against your 12 or 26 weeks.
  • Your supervisor or HR department can require a note from a doctor certifying a legitimate medical condition.
  • If you take time off from work for short-term disability (STD), this time can also be counted against your FMLA leave.



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