FMLA allows employees to take up to 12 weeks off to take care of an immediate family member who is seriously ill. A child who is recuperating from major surgery, a parent suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, or a spouse recovering from an auto accident are examples. The stipulation is that the person being cared for must be immediate family; an in-law or a favorite second cousin would not count. Serious illness can include stroke and heart attack, complications from pregnancy, pneumonia, sever arthritis, and epilepsy. Clearly not every condition will require the full 12-week leave to be used up at one time. But FMLA allows employees to break up their leave time, so long as it does not exceed 12 weeks per year.