Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, as amended, (FMLA) is intended to help employees balance their work and family life by allowing them to take job-protected leave for:
- personal medical reasons as a result of a serious illness or injury;
- the birth or adoption of a child, or placement of a child in foster care, with the employee;
- care of a son, daughter, spouse or parent who has a serious health condition;
- care of a child, spouse, parent or next-of-kin who is a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness; or
- because of a qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered servicemember on covered active duty, or an impending call to covered active duty in a foreign country.
(SEE: Fact Sheet # 28: The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and Fact Sheet # 28A: The Family and Medical Leave Act Military Leave Entitlements)
- To request leave under the FMLA, an employee must give 30 days advance notice for foreseeable leave, or must notify the employer as quickly as practicable when leave can not be foreseen. Failure to provide timely or sufficient notice may result in the delay or denial of FMLA leave, and may disqualify the employee for job-protection and continuation of benefits under the provisions of the FMLA.
When the employer learns of an employee’s need for FMLA leave, the employer must notify the employee orally or in writing that the employee is or is not eligible for job-protected leave (WH-381 Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities.
When the employer requests certification from a licensed healthcare provider explaining the employee’s need for leave, the employer may require the employee to provide information as outlined in those forms approved by the federal Department of Labor. See forms: WH-380-E Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition, WH-380-F Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition, WH-384 Certification of Qualifying Exigency For Military Family Leave, or WH-385 Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of Covered Servicemember -- for Military Family Leave.
- The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) prohibits employers and other entities covered by GINA Title II from requesting or requiring genetic information of an individual or family member of the individual, except as specifically allowed by this law. "Genetic Information" as defined by GINA includes the results of an individual's or family member's genetic tests, the fact that an individual or an individual's family member sought or received genetic services, and genetic information of a fetus carried by an individual or an individual's family member or an embryo lawfully held by an individual or family member receiving assistive reproductive services.
- If an employee’s need for leave qualifies under any of the provisions of the FMLA, the employer will designate the leave as FMLA leave, regardless of whether or not the employee has available paid leave, or specifically requests or asks to refuse FMLA leave. Absences resulting from a work-related illness or injury will be designated as FMLA leave. Generally, the employer has five business days to provide the appropriate notification. WH-382 Designation Notice
The employer must provide timely notice that an employee’s FMLA leave request is either granted or denied, and must advise the employee in writing of the employee’s rights and responsibilities. WH-381 Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities
- Employees returning from medical leave must provide a fitness for duty certification indicating that they can return to work and perform the essential functions of their position.
An employee who exhausts his or her entitlement to FMLA leave is no longer eligible for job-protected status under the FMLA. However, other rights and benefits may apply. Employees should consult their Human Resources office