How Long Can A Person Take FMLA (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Up To Twelve Weeks In A Year

FMLA is the short form of the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Act was first introduced on the 5th of February 1993 by the United States government. The act was passed to support the labor law of the United States. This act allows laborers to ask for unpaid and job-protected leave given they have genuine family and medical reasons.

The act was introduced by the then-president of the United States, Bill Clinton. It was one of his many domestic agendas in his first term. The United States Department of Labor and The Wage and Hour Division administers the act.

How Long Can A Person Take FMLA

How Long Can A Person Take FMLA?

The FMLA permits an eligible employee to apply for a break from the job citing family or medical reasons. The application is only approved when the bases are cross verified and found to be authentic. This leave is taken chiefly if the employee is suffering from a disease or taking care of an ill family member. Whether belonging to the public sector or the private one, an employee is eligible to leave.

Highly compensated employees or Elected Officials are also permitted to take leave under this act, but they face certain limitations. Historically, pregnant women were not allowed to take a break from their jobs. As a result, they had to quit the job to take care of the baby. After that, it was not easy to find a new job, which also affected the United States employment rate. Therefore, the United States government felt a need for such a law that can keep the employee secure.

Type Of LeaveMaximum Time Allowed
Family And Medical LeaveUp to twelve weeks in a year
Other LeaveUp to four weeks in a year

An employee can take a family and medical leave for a maximum of up to twelve weeks. Vacation balances are not considered in the case of family and medical leaves. On the other hand, leaves that are not a part of the Family and Medical Leave Act can be availed up to a maximum duration of four weeks. If the employer permits, an employee can also get paid sick leaves.

Why Can A Person Take FMLA For That Long?

An individual can either use the entire twelve weeks in one leave or use them in split timelines. After exhausting the complete quota of twelve weeks, the employee cannot apply for any leaves under this act. However, if the employer allows the employee to leave, it won’t be counted as a family or medical leave. Exhausted family and medical leaves get renewed once every twelve months.

One major drawback of this act is that if there are less than fifty workers in a distance of seventy-five miles of the working site, they cannot take leave. Suppose the break is being taken for birth or abortion or treatment of any other severe disease. In that case, the employee must submit a notice at least thirty days before the operation or treatment. The employer does not pay the employee any amount of money. However, an employee can take advance payment if the employer permits it.

After the leave is over, it is a fundamental right of the employee to return to the job. This act doesn’t apply to part-time workers. An employee must work for a minimum of twelve months to be eligible for this leave. One more important thing is that the leave can only be taken for close family members: parent, spouse, or child. Several states have also considered a child’s school or education activities under the family and medical leave.


Finally, it can be concluded that an employee is permitted to take leave with the Family and Medical Leave Act for medical or family issues. The act was passed in 1993. The leaves get renewed once every twelve months. However, an employer employing less than fifty workers cannot give family or medical leaves to its employee.

On average, an employee can take a leave for a maximum of up to twelve weeks. Vacation balances are not counted in this type of leave. The break is unpaid, and the employee is allowed to return to the job after the leave’s tenure is over.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.


  1. The detailed explanation provided in this article is quite enlightening. FMLA’s impact is far-reaching and deserves attention.

    1. Indeed, understanding FMLA is essential for ensuring fair treatment of employees across various sectors.

  2. FMLA has undoubtedly addressed critical gaps in protecting employees’ rights. The article effectively highlights its significance.

    1. Absolutely, this article offers valuable insights into FMLA’s role in safeguarding employees’ interests.

  3. This article provides valuable insights into the FMLA and its implications for both employers and employees.

  4. The article presents a balanced view of FMLA’s provisions and their implications for the working population.

  5. The FMLA has undoubtedly played a significant role in protecting the rights of employees dealing with family or health issues.

  6. The information provided here is crucial for employees and employers to understand their rights and responsibilities under FMLA.

  7. While FMLA has its limitations, it has certainly been an important step towards supporting employees’ well-being.

  8. This article is very informative, I would recommend it to anyone interested in the Family and Medical Leave Act.

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