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Can your managers answer these FMLA questions?

If so, your leave administration job is easier

Posted December 13, 2018

Enlisting the help of your company’s managers (and supervisors) in regard to a few simple concepts regarding the FMLA can help make your administering the law’s provisions much easier. Since they are often an employee’s first contact for requesting leave, they can help you meet the law’s requirements, such as the employee notice deadlines. These questions may serve as refresher training or a manager cheat sheet.

Q: Does an employee need to use any particular words (e.g., FMLA) when putting you on notice of the need for leave?

A: No. No special words need be used. In some cases, and employee’s odd behavior has been seen as notice of the need for leave. If an employee is unable to provide such notice, he or she is not required to do so. If, for example, an employee was involved in a nasty car accident, and could not call in. Once you became aware of the accident, you would likely be seen as being put on notice of the need for leave.

Q: What reasons may an employee take FMLA leave?

A: For the birth of the employee’s child and to care for the child; for the adoption or foster placement of a child with the employee; because of the employee’s own serious health condition, to care for a family member with a serious health condition; for military-related qualifying exigencies of a family member, to care for a family member with a military-related serious injury or illness. Pregnancy is a serious health condition.

Q: Do all employees get FMLA leave?

A: No, just those who meet the eligibility criteria: Worked for the company for at least 12 months; worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months before leave is to begin, and work at a site with at least 50 company employees within 75 miles.

Q: How much FMLA leave do employees get?

A: Eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave in a 12-month leave year period for most reasons. They are entitled to up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave for military caregiver reasons.

Q: What should I do if an employee calls in?

A: Depending upon the situation, you may ask a few pointed questions to help determine if the reason for the leave qualifies for FMLA protection, such as the anticipated timing and duration of the leave, whether the leave is for a pregnancy, whether the employee is unable to perform his or her job, whether the employee or family member was hospitalized overnight, whether the employee or family member is under the continuing care of a health care provider, or if the leave is related to a family member’s military duty. In most situations, the company’s leave administrator should be notified of the leave as soon as practicable.

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