The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that grants workers the right to take an unpaid leave of absence from work for medical reasons or family caregiving reasons. You can request a leave of absence of up to 12 weeks, and your employer must allow you to return to your job when the absence period ends. You can take FMLA leave because of your own health issue or because of the illness of your spouse or child. You may also take FMLA leave to care for your newborn or newly adopted child.
Taking FMLA leave is a legally protected activity. This means that it is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for requesting or taking this leave of absence. Retaliation could mean termination of employment, or it could also mean another kind of adverse action, such as demoting you or giving you an unfairly negative performance evaluation.