The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specific family and medical reasons if they work for a covered employer.
When an employee requests to take leave under the FMLA, there are certain requirements he or she must meet.
Notice timing and contents
When the employee knows about the need for leave in advance, he or she must give the employer at least 30 days’ notice. When the leave is not foreseeable, the employee must give the employer notice as soon as possible and practical.
The employee’s notice may be verbal or written, but it must contain enough information for the employer to know that the leave may be covered by FMLA. This may include information about conditions that cause the employee to be unable to work or information about the care of a qualifying family member, for example.
The employee must also respond to employer questions that determine whether the leave request qualifies under FMLA. If the employee fails to do this, the leave may not be protected.
Once the employee is on leave, the employer can require the employee to provide periodic updates about his or her status and whether he or she intends to return to the job.
FMLA disputes can be complex. They may include claims of retaliation, wrongful termination, mismanagement of the leave or failure to notify the employee of his or her leave status and eligibility.
If a business has questions about FMLA or has a dispute, an experienced employment law attorney can provide advice and representation.