Before the need to use your benefits arises, be sure you understand what is and isn't covered. Recently I applied for FMLA to my employer of over 23 years, only to be denied. Why? Because I work in education and don't work 12 months a year. To qualify for FMLA protection, you have to WORK 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months. That is not an employer's rule, that is where the federal government has set the requirements. That number of 1,250 hours does not include holidays, or vacation days or even snow days. Only those hours at my desk count toward those 1,250 required hours. Even my lunch time does not count .... I was surprised, shocked and dismayed when I was turned down for FMLA protection and I hope sharing my experience will help someone else avoid this shock.