The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act instituted in 1993 under President Clinton allows workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave with job protection for specific family and medical reasons.
The FMLA Act applies to all businesses with 50+ employees and to all public agencies-local-state-federal. If an employee has worked for a minimum of 12 months for the current employer, as well as in the previous 12 months worked 1250 hours or more, he/she is eligible for leave unde FMLA.
FMLA leave may be taken for a birth, care of a new born, for adoption or foster care of a child; for care of an immediate family member (spouse, child or parent) for a serious health problem or your own serious health condition. You cannot lose your job if you qualify for FMLA.
If you believe FMLA has been denied to you or that the employer has violated the Act, you may file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division of the US Department of Labor.
This may be done in person or by phone and followed up in writing. The statute of limitations is two years. If it was a willful violation on behalf of the employer the limitation is three years.