As our parents and loved ones grow older, they often need more care. This could mean more care than you can provide in the evenings and weekends when you are not working. If this is the case, but you aren’t ready to look into nursing home facilities or bringing outside help into the home for care, you do have options. One of those options is using the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, to care for your elderly parent.
FMLA to Care for Parent
The Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, is a federal law that provides you with the right to take time off work when you need to care for an aging parent or other loved one. Using FMLA, you can take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period without risking the loss of one’s employment or employer-provided health insurance.
Using FMLA to care for elderly parents is a great option, especially because it does not have to be used all at once. You could potentially use only one or two days per week if you are sharing caregiving responsibilities with another family member. Additionally, it does not have to be an elderly parent that would otherwise need to move to assisted living. You can use the FMLA for a parent that has just had major surgery and needs assistance for three or four weeks while they recover.
Download a Free Guide to Home Care
How to Fill Out FMLA Paperwork
As with any government-related form, there are several steps when applying for the FMLA for the care of a parent. Since you are using the FMLA for an elderly parent, you will need the WH-380-F form. Your employer will need to complete section one. You will need to complete section two, and then take the form to your parent’s healthcare provider to complete section three within fifteen days of getting the form back from your employer. Once those sections are complete, the form goes back to your employer, who will approve the leave.
If you have any problems downloading and printing the online form (linked above, and available at the Department of Labor’s FMLA website here), you can call the Department of Labor at 1-866-487-9243 and they can provide assistance.
Being a caregiver is no easy task. There are many agencies and programs that can help you, and the Family and Medical Leave Act is just one of them. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of things like FMLA, and find other services that can help you.