Preparing to apply for paid leave? Download the checklist to make sure you are ready.
Planning to take leave in 2020?
Learn more about applying for and taking bonding leave
Learn more about applying for and taking leave to care for yourself or a family member
Find additional information about preparing for and using the program
How to apply for paid leave
Whether you need time off from work to care for yourself or a family member, here’s what you need to do to apply for Paid Family and Medical Leave.
1. Tell your employer
If you know you will be taking paid leave well before it happens (for example, if you are expecting a baby or your family member has a planned surgery coming up), you’ll need to give your employer written notice at least 30 days in advance.
If you take paid leave unexpectedly (for example, after a serious injury), written notice to your employer is still required. Provide notice as soon as you are able, or ask someone else, like a family member or a neighbor, to provide notice for you.
In your written notice, let your employer know you need to take paid family or medical leave and about how long you expect you’ll be out. Emails, text messages and handwritten notes all count as written notice. It is always a good idea to keep a copy for your records.
2. Get certified by a healthcare provider
For a medical event (for example, a planned surgery, a family member’s serious illness or giving birth to a baby), download and fill out the Certification of Serious Health Condition form. The form includes a section for you to fill out and a section for your or your family member’s healthcare provider to fill out. The form includes information about your health condition, when it happened and how much time off from work you need based on what your healthcare provider recommends.
(If you prefer, you can use your Family Medical Leave Act form or a doctor’s note instead. Just make sure it includes the same information as the Certification of Serious Health Condition form.)
You do not need this form if you’re adopting a child or becoming a foster parent, or for military-related events. You also don’t need it to qualify for 12 weeks of paid leave to bond with your new baby when you or your partner give birth. (If you are the parent giving birth, you will need the form for the portion of your paid leave that is considered medical leave.)
3. Gather other documents
To apply, you will need to provide documents that prove your identity. Many documents can be used to prove identification, including school transcripts and birth certificates from other countries.
If you’re taking time off to care for a new child or because of a military event, you may need a couple more documents:
If you’re taking leave to care for a new child, you are not required to provide proof of birth or placement in most cases, but you may be asked to provide documents such as the child’s birth certificate or court documents to show placement if we have a question about your application.
If you’re taking leave because of a military deployment, event or activity, you may be asked to provide documentation like active duty orders.