The Family Medical Leave Act is designed to let people who meet specific requirements have up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave from their employer so that they can take care of their family and their medical needs or heal from injury or illness. These 12 weeks can only be used once in any 12 months. It can spread those days out and not take them all at once if the employee sets it up that way with their employer.
One of the requirements for getting some FMLA leave is that the company you work for has a minimum number of employees. The criterion in the act says that the company has to have at least 50 employees. It also says that those 50 employees have to be within 75 miles of the employer. So, if your company has a lot of remote workers, they are only going to count if they are all within 75 miles of their office.
There are two employment requirements that you have to meet to qualify for an FMLA leave. You must have worked for the company for at least 12 months. Within that 12 months, you must have worked at least 1250 hours. If you work regular 40-hour work weeks, then 1250 hours breaks down to about 31 weeks a year. If you don't work full-time, you will have to adjust as necessary. You should be able to get information about how many hours you've worked by going to the payroll department or your manager. It may also appear on your pay stub.
You have to submit a request to your employer to take the FMLA leave. You will have to share who you will be taking care of and how long you expect to be gone. You will have to explain that if you want to get leave for different times instead of one continuous period. Just because you have applied and met all the criteria set out in the law doesn't mean you will automatically get approved. You can appeal the decision; the best way to do that is to hire an attorney specializing in FMLA law. They can help you get the leave you need to take care of yourself or your family.
The FMLA can make it easier for you regarding an ill family member. If have an FMLA law case, you may want to work with an attorney from the very beginning.