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FMLA: Notice to Employer

FMLA: Notice to Employer

By Malatesta Law on June 15, 2018

An employee who wants to take a FMLA leave must notify their employer of their need for a leave and the reason that they qualify for a leave.

How Should an Employee Provide Notice of Intent to Take a FMLA Leave?

An employee can provide the requisite notice regarding their intent to take a FMLA leave to their employer either orally or in writing. It is preferable to put the notice in writing, i.e. an e-mail or fax, so that the employee has proof, if necessary, that they properly requested a FMLA leave.

If an employee is unable to notify their employer about their need for a FMLA leave because of certain circumstances, i.e. they are in the hospital with a serious medical condition, it is acceptable for someone to give the employee’s employer notice of their condition and need for a leave on their behalf.

What Should be Contained in a Notice of Desire to Take a FMLA Leave?

It is important for the employee’s notice to provide their employer with sufficient information to inform their employer that they need/want to take a FMLA leave and that they have a qualifying reason for doing so. While it is beneficial to do so, an employee need not expressly mention their FMLA rights for their notice to be proper. For example, it would be acceptable for an employee to tell their employer that they will be undergoing a liver transplant and will need time off for the surgery and to recuperate.

Notably, an employee must tell their employer, if known, the anticipated timing and duration of their leave.

When Should an Employee Give Notice of Their FMLA Leave?

The law requires that employees give reasonable notice to their employer of their need for a FMLA leave. What constitutes reasonable notice depends on the circumstances of the employee’s situation.

When an employee’s need for a leave is foreseeable, i.e. the employee has a scheduled upcoming surgery, an employee must provide their employer with at least thirty (30) days notice of their need for a leave.

Conversely, when an employee’s need for a leave is not foreseeable, i.e. an employee’s child is severely injured in a car accident and the employee needs to provide them care, the employee should provide notice to their employer as soon as reasonable practicable under the circumstances of their situation.

An Employee Should Always Keep Their Employer Informed About the Expected Duration of Their Leave

An employee should remain in contact with their employer regarding the expected duration of their leave. An employee must promptly notify an employer if they need to take off more time than originally expected. For example, if an employee originally thought they would only need to take a two week leave because of their surgery but will need an additional week to recover and rehabilitate, the employee immediately must notify their employer about this change to their scheduled leave.

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