Will I lose my job if I take time off to care for my sick parent?

| May 10, 2021 | Employment Law -- Employee |

The Family Medical Leave Act gives employees who work for covered employers unpaid leave to care for specific family members who have medical issues. You may keep your job if you qualify. 

If your employer is eligible for FMLA, you may take 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period. You may get 26 workweeks of leave to care for a service member if the person is your parent. 

FMLA parent definition

FMLA defines a parent as a biological, adoptive, step or foster father or mother. You cannot take time off for a parent-in-law. 

In some instances, you can provide support for someone who may have assumed the position of a parent to you. The In loco parentis situation may extend to: 

  • Grandparents 
  • Uncles 
  • Aunts 

If you are a son or daughter of a same-sex partnership, FMLA may allow you to take leave to care for the nonadoptive or nonbiological partner who stood in loco parentis to you. 

Required documents

Your employer will ask you to fill out a Certification of Health Care Provider form to show the reasons for the leave. As part of the form, the provider may give information such as: 

  • Symptoms 
  • Diagnosis 
  • Regimen of treatment 
  • Use of specialized equipment 

The health care provider must show that the care is medically necessary. Types of care may include: 

  • Nutrition 
  • Physical needs 
  • Psychological needs 
  • Transportation 

The form also asks if there has been admission or future admission to a hospital, hospice or medical care facility for an overnight stay. 

Keep a file for all medical documents. It is important to have the medical information and support of the medical provider, as this may make the FMLA approval process quicker. 

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