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FMLA and paid leave

When it comes to the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, most employees are familiar with the fact that this is likely available to them.

As noted by the United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, it is in place to give employees the option to take unpaid leave for particular medical or family reasons. For example, a person can take FMLA leave to care for a sick spouse or child.

There are times when the substitution of paid leave is allowed or required. Employees may choose to use paid leave to cover some, most, or all of an FMLA leave. Even if the employee does not want to do so, an employer could require that he or she uses paid leave.

The substitution is limited by the company's policy with regard to the use of such leave.

If an employee is interested in FMLA leave, he or she should check with the employer's human resources department for more information on how to request time away and whether or not it will be unpaid or paid. There are times when an employee may want to take paid leave, or when the employer decides that this is in the best interest of everyone involved.

Most people hope they never have to learn more about FMLA or make a decision to file for this type of leave. Even so, you never know when you could find yourself in this position. It is essential to understand the ins and outs of FMLA, including the difference between unpaid and paid leave. This will help you make the right decision.

Source: United States Department of Labor, "The Family and Medical Leave Act," accessed May. 12, 2015

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