FMLA Administration Tools

Time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), especially intermittent FMLA, can be very challenging and frustrating to administer. If the employer is a covered employer (i.e., has over 50 employees) and the employee is FMLA eligible, and presents an FMLA qualifying reason, the employee is entitled to leave, regardless of how that leave impacts the employer. There is no undue hardship analysis, as with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), unless the employee meets the definition of a “key employee.” However, FMLA regulations do give employers a few “tools” to help them better manage employees on FMLA leave. Below is brief summary of one of these tools – Employee Notice Requirements.

  • Foreseeable Leave – When the need for FMLA leave is foreseeable, the employee may be required to give the employer at least 30 days’ advance notice. When the need for FMLA leave is foreseeable, but 30 days’ notice is not practicable, then the employee must give the employer notice as soon practicable. This generally means the same or next business day. Whether scheduled leave under FMLA is in block, intermittent, or reduced schedule form, an employer may only require the employee to give notice once. However, the employee must give the employer notice as soon as practicable of any changes to scheduled time off under FMLA. Failure to comply with the employer’s usual notice requirements, absent unusual circumstances, may result in a delay or denial of FMLA-protected leave.
  • Unforeseeable Leave – When the need for FMLA leave is not foreseeable, the employee may be required to give notice as soon as practicable. Generally, this means within the time required by the employer’s usual notice requirements. Failure to comply with the employer’s usual notice requirements, absent unusual circumstances, may result in a delay or denial of FMLA-protected leave.

FMLA administration is complicated! Whether FMLA leave may be delayed or denied depends on various factors. Consult Employers Council for guidance on this and other FMLA matters. In addition, Employers Council maintains a library of FMLA resources, including sample forms, to assist members with both day-to-day and complex FMLA administration needs.