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Statute Of Liberty

What to do with your debilitatingly fatigued, your pregnant, your deathly ill yearning to be free from work for 12 weeks

This story appears in the January 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The Family and Medical Act () provides employees with job security when they need it most. Under the law, eligible employees must be granted up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for childbirth or adoption, serious health conditions or to care for family members with serious health conditions. The law, which affects businesses with 50 or more employees, requires employers to restore employees to their old jobs or the equivalent on their return.

While keeping a position open can be a strain for employers, it makes good business sense to retain your valued employees and bear with them through times of crisis or new family responsibilities. But not everyone who applies for FMLA leave-or sues over its denial-is a deserving employee in real need. Some use the law as an excuse for absenteeism or as another way to exact money from employers in court. The good news: Courts are finding in favor of employers who hold the line on abuse.

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