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Evaluate leave requests from employees carefully

Workers sometimes need to take time off of work for medical reasons or to deal with a family situation. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per 12-month period to handle covered issues. For employers, understanding what qualifies as a valid reason for the time off is necessary since denied claims that should have been approved can lead to issues.

Employees who have a valid reason for needing the time off should ensure they take the proper steps to request time off. The employee should give you at least 30 days' notice unless that is impossible. In some cases, they might not be able to tell you the exact date they will need off; however, they should discuss the matter with you if they know that they will need time off for something. For example, a woman won't know the exact day she will go into labor, but she can let you know that she is pregnant and when she is due, so you know that she will need off.

If the worker is unable to let you know 30 days because of an emergency, such as a child falling ill suddenly, they should let you know the day they find out or the next business day. Once an employee reports that they will need FMLA leave, you have five business days to approve or deny the initial request. A denial must provide the reason the worker isn't eligible.

When a worker is eligible, the notice must include information about what constitutes the 12-month period for benefits. It also has to include the right to use paid leave, whether a medical certification is needed or not, information about health benefits and the right to return to work at the end of the leave.

If employees feel that they aren't being granted leave in accordance with FMLA requirements, they might take legal action. Protecting your company against this is crucial.

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