People cannot collect unemployment benefits while on leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA protects a person's employment status during an approved voluntary leave that falls outside the parameters of being unemployed.
The FMLA was designed to provide protection against losing one's job because of a family medical issue. Its sole purpose is to protect a worker's status with the employer while on medical leave for an approved medical condition. The time off under FMLA is unpaid time, and the employee is expected to be able to take care of their own financial needs during an FMLA leave.