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Human Resources and Organizational Management


Human Resources and Organizational Management

Headquarters Marine Corps

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides most full time Federal employees with an entitlement to a total of 12 weeks (480 hours) of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for:

  • the care of the employee's spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition;
  • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of their position;
  • birth of son or daughter and care of the new born; and/or
  • placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care
Family and Medical Leave


  • Upon return from FMLA leave, an employee must be returned to the same position or to an "equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, status, and other terms and conditions of employment."
  • An employee who takes FMLA leave is entitled to maintain health benefits coverage. An employee on unpaid FMLA leave may pay the employee share of the premiums on a current basis or pay upon return to work.


  • An employee must provide notice of his or her intent to take family and medical leave not less than 30 days before leave is to begin or, in emergencies, as soon as is practicable.
  • Medical certification is required to support a request for FMLA leave to care for an employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition or for the serious health condition of the employee.
  • If the FMLA request is based on the birth and care of a son or daughter or the placement of a child for adoption or foster care, the employee may be required to provide administratively acceptable evidence to support the request.


The 12-month period begins on the date an employee first takes FMLA leave and continues for 12 months. An employee is not entitled to 12 additional workweeks of unpaid leave until the previous 12-month period ends and an event or situation occurs that entitles the employee to another period of FMLA leave. This may include a continuation of a previous event or situation.


An employee may substitute accrued or advanced annual or sick leave and donated annual leave for unpaid FMLA leave, consistent the rules governing use of leave. For example, if FMLA is invoked to care for a healthy newborn, only annual leave may be substituted as there is no authorization to use sick leave for a healthy child.


The FMLA was amended in 2008 to allow employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave each year for each 12 month period for any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact the service member is on active duty or has been notified of a call to active duty in support of a contingency operation. Additionally, the FMLA was amended to allow eligible employees to take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a covered service member with a serious illness or injury.

OPM Fact Sheet: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)  
Family and Medical Leave Act (5 CFR Part 630 Subpart L)  
Department of Labor (DoL) Form WH-380-E: Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition (Family and Medical Leave Act)  
Department of Labor (DoL) Form WH-380-F: Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition  
 Department of Labor (DoL) Form WH-384: Certification of Qualifying Exigency For Military Family Leave  
 Department of Labor (DoL) Form WH-385: Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of Covered Servicemember -  for Military Family Leave  
Recent Changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act (OPM Document)  

Family and Medical Leave Act

Frequently-Asked Questions
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Yes, if you are acting “in loco parentis” to any child under the age of 18, you may invoke your entitlement to FMLA to care for the child with a serious medical condition, even though you are not the biological parent. If the child is over the age of 18, you may be entitled to FMLA only if the child is incapable of self support due to physical or mental disability.
No. FMLA applies to parents but not to in-laws with a serious medical condition.
No. You must have 12 months of continuous service to be eligible for FMLA.

FMLA is not intended to cover common medical problems such as the flu and stomach aches, unless complications arise. FMLA is intended to cover serious medical conditions that:

  • require in patient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility; or
  • require continuing treatments by a health care provider
Employees have 15 days to provide the certification. If it is not practicable for the employee to provide the certification, despite the employee’s diligent good faith efforts, the employee must provide it in a reasonable period and not later than 30 days after the agency requests the certification.