NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Although most working parents do a great job balancing family commitments and work responsibilities, for others it’s a constant struggle. According to the Bright Horizons Modern Family Index, nearly half — 48% — of all working parents fear their family obligations could get them fired. What are the realities? Here’s a look at what’s normal for working parents and what might cost you your job.
Missing work to care for a sick family member
If you’re dealing with a serious health condition of a child or immediate family member, the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides for 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Your employer must give you your job back if you return to work when those 12 weeks are up, says employment attorney Christina Stoneburner with Fox Rothschild. To qualify for FMLA, you must have worked for at least one year for an employer that has 50 or more employees.
“The issue of caring for an elderly parent or a family member with a serious illness is more common than you might think. While having a family isn’t a protected class, FMLA offers some protection for people when their spouse, child or parent is facing a severe health issue,” Stoneburner says.
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With that said, FMLA won’t help you if you’re taking care of a family member with the sniffles or a sore throat.
“There is no federal law that mandates employers give consideration to employees with family responsibilities,” she says. “If your child has a cold, you’ll need to take a vacation day or work from home if that’s an option for you.”