The United States Department of Labor is charged with administering the Family Medical Leave of Absence (FMLA) program in the U.S. This program requires that certain employers provide non-paid leave time to employees under certain circumstances.

Leave is required in order to allow an employee to care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent if the spouse, son, daughter, or parent has a serious health condition or if the employee themselves has a serious health condition that will not allow the employee to adequately perform their job.

The FMLA allows an unpaid leave for 12 weeks in a 12 month period. There are a number of guidelines, rules and regulations governing eligibility for the leave. The Labor Department maintains a web site at , which explains the complete law, answers frequently asked questions and tells how to file a complaint against your employer if they fail to follow the law.

Advanced prostate cancer patients, their wives and children can all take advantage of this leave in times when care is needed. Some employers are more flexible and forgiving then others, but it is important to try to keep communications open with your employer.

Don’t be afraid to use the family leave if needed.

Joel T Nowak MA, MSW