How Long Can You Take A Leave Of Absence From Work (And Why)?

How Long Can You Take A Leave Of Absence From Work (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 12 Weeks In 12 Months

Taking leave from daily routine work is a very natural thing in an employee’s work life. Such leaves help a person to balance between their personal and professional needs. Leaves can be for personal or family health problems, birth or adoption of a child, and coping up with excess job stress among various others.

A leave of absence can be described as a request put forward by the employee addressed to the employer or manager. The type of leave of absence asked depends on the type of workplace and organization. At casual workplaces like restaurants and garages, verbal communication might be enough, while at formal workplaces, a written request would be needed.

How Long Can You Take A Leave Of Absence From Work

How Long Can You Take A Leave Of Absence From Work?

Different legal provisions are governing the subject of taking leave from work in different countries. In the United States of America, there are three legislations at the Federal level, namely, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA, was passed in 1993), the American Disabilities Act (ADA, was passed in 1990), and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLA). Apart from these, there are several legislations in many states of the USA.

The Federal legislation on the issue is considered as the benchmarks and the basic standard which employers have to follow. However, to get the benefit of these acts, the employees must qualify and be eligible for a leave of absence to get them.

As per the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a worker can receive a break of 12 weeks in a year or over 12 months. However, this is subject to the condition that they must have already worked for one thousand twelve hundred and fifty hours.

The American Disabilities Act (ADA) calls for employers to give equal opportunities to their disabled employees. They cannot discriminate among them and should allow them to take leave from work if they qualify for it.

The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLA) is an extension of FMLA and it relaxes the eligibility criteria to make getting emergency leaves easier. According to this act, an employee needs to have worked only for a period of 30 days to be eligible to get emergency leaves.

Particulars Of Taking LeavePeriod
Total of working period12 Months
Minimum working hours as per FMLA1250 Hours
Minimum working days as per EFMLA30 Days
Maximum allowed leaves as per FMLA12 Weeks

Why Can You Take A Leave Of Absence From Work For So Long?

Employees take a leave of absence from work when they truly feel its need. Unless the leave is paid, they have no benefit in taking unnecessary leaves from work which might only result in losses. Thus, employees take leave when they are in real need of some free time for either themselves or their families.

According to the Family and Medical Leave Act, there are valid and legal reasons for which employers are required to grant leaves. Some prominent reasons are giving birth to a child or adopting one, being a caregiver, signing up for an active military role, jury duty, or any serious health issues affecting either the employee or their family.

The employers are bound to give leave to employees if they have any of the other reasons. Thus, such leaves are called mandated leaves.

However, apart from these, there may be certain other reasons for which employees might have to ask for leaves. These are voluntary leaves and the employer is not bound to give them to employees. Examples of personal leaves are leaves due to marriages, divorce, graduation, funerals, or travel and recreational activities.


Three major acts in the United States of America regulate the taking of leave of absence from work. These are the FMLA, the EFMLA, and the ADA.

The FMLA states that employees are eligible to get a leave of absence for 12 weeks in 12 months if they have worked for 1250 hours. On the other hand, the EFMLA reduces the eligibility criterion to just 30 working days. Apart from these, many workers take extra leaves for causes that are not covered in the acts like travel, graduation, and marriages.


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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.

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