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Human Resource Tips To Administer FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act)

By May 31, 2012 February 19th, 2015 No Comments

Surprised baby boy using a laptop computerWhat is FMLA?

FMLA is the acronym for The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This legislation is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave from work for possible family situations or medical reasons.  The goal of FMLA is to protect both employers and employees and promote equal employment.  Eligible employees of covered companies can take extended, unpaid time off for reasons that include:  a serious health condition of the employee or an immediate family member; the birth or adoption of a child; military caregiver and exigency leave.  FMLA caps the leave at 12 weeks within 12 months.

What Steps Should Employees Take? First they should provide notice, and second, they must meet the criteria to be eligible for FMLA absence.

1. Give Notice. If possible, an employee who needs to take leave should provide the company with 30 days notice.  In circumstances of illness, it’s understandable that an employee request may be made in less time.  Once a request is made, the employer then needs to determine the employee’s eligibility and respond to the request within five days.

2. Meet Criteria. An employee requesting leave must be employed with the company for 12 months and have performed at least 1,250 hours of service prior to the request for leave.  The employer must employ 50 or more employees on-site or within 75 miles of the requesting employee’s work site.  Once this is established, the employee is eligible for leave under FMLA and the appropriate Department of Labor certification forms should be provided to the employee for completion within 15 days.

Once an employer has received the certification forms from an employee, the information should be verified.  If information is missing or incomplete, the employee should be notified. It’s typical to allow seven days to complete and resubmit the information.

Upon receipt of the complete and correct forms, the employee should be provided with a Designation Notice and Rights and Responsibilities Form.  Any outstanding information at that point should be collected and submitted within 15 days.

Should the employee’s request not fall within the FMLA criteria a Designation Notice that states the reason for denial should be shared with the employee.   The employee may be eligible for personal leave, if that is a benefit that is available though the employer.

If you have questions about FMLA and how to administer FMLA, contact HR Knowledge.

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