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FMLA - Employer's Designation of Leave Notice

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 11/30/2008
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I recently received an employee's request for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Am I required to give the employee notice of the company's position regarding the leave request?

Yes. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) was enacted to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families by allowing covered employees to take reasonable leave for medical, health, or family reasons. Upon receiving a request for leave, employers are responsible for determining whether an employee is entitled to such leave under the FMLA, and, if so, to designate the leave as FMLA-qualifying. Although employers are required to notify their employees of their determination by using a designation notice, the time for providing the notice depends on the circumstances.

If the employer, immediately after receiving notice of the employee's request, has sufficient information to designate the leave as FMLA-qualifying, the employer may provide the employee with the designation notice at that time. In instances in which the employer needs more information before it can designate the leave as FMLA leave, then the deadline for providing a designation notice to the employee is five business days after the employer has obtained the necessary information to make the determination. Furthermore, the designation notice, which must be in writing, must specify whether the employee will be required to present a fitness-for-duty certification before returning to work and the number of hours, days, or weeks that will be counted against the employee's FMLA leave entitlement, if this figure is known at the time the employer prepares the designation notice. Since other requirements governing the preparation of designation notices vary depending on the facts of a particular case, employers must carefully review the law or consult a licensed professional. Otherwise, an employer's failure in this regard may be deemed an interference with, restraint on, or denial of the exercise of an employee's FMLA rights.

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Categories: 2008

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