FMLA stands for the Family and Medical Leave Act, which entitles employees to time off for medical conditions or to care for other family members. Companies that had at least 50 employees working for 20 weeks of the previous year must offer FMLA.
FMLA allows employees to take 12 weeks off within a designated 12-month period for medical conditions or other approved reasons. The 12 weeks can be taken consecutively or in approved chunks of time.
Employers are not obligated to extend FMLA beyond 12 weeks in a 12-month period; however some companies may choose to extend FMLA for their employees. Extensions can be requested by employees, which usually requires a medical recertification from a doctor, but requesting an extension does not automatically grant an extension.
Employees must fill out forms for FMLA leave and provide any other necessary medical documentation either prior to taking their leave or as quickly as possible after leaving work. Delays in paperwork may cause a delay or confusion in the company starting and ending date of FMLA leave.