Increase the likelihood that your employer will grant a request for FMLA leave by following these steps. Should your employer violate FMLA's provisions, these same steps can verify critical factors needed to prove your case in court.
- Request FMLA leave in writing. If submitting the request in person, make certain that your copy of your memo is stamped “received” by the employer. FMLA requests made by mail should be sent by certified mail, with a return receipt requested. When proving notice by fax, be certain to hold onto copies of the page verifying that the fax was successfully transmitted. You should use email only if you can obtain a hard-copy verification that your communication has been received — memos, faxes, and traditional letters are preferred methods of contact. Be certain all verbal notices and non-confirmed emails are followed up within 48 hours with a letter confirming the details and sent by fax or certified, return-receipt mail. Obtain proof of mailing by requesting a hand-stamped, green-and-white postal slip from a postal clerk. Have the post office’s green proof-of-receipt care returned to your home address and keep copies of your written correspondence at your residence, not the office. If fired, you won’t have access to your office.
- Except in unforeseeable circumstances, employees are required to request FMLA leave at least 30 days in advance. If the need for FMLA arises with less than 30 days advance notice, mention in your written communication that the leave was unforeseeable.
- Mention in your communication that needed FMLA leave arises due to serious health condition. Specify whether the person with the health concern is a parent, you, a spouse, son, or daughter.
- Your written note should state you’d need no longer than 12 weeks leave. Employers aren’t obligated to hold jobs open for more than 12 weeks.
- Employers may require your loved one’s health care provider to complete paperwork verifying the seriousness of their medical condition. Quite often, health care providers write inaccurate information when completing the paperwork and don’t return it by critical deadlines. To guard against this, personally pick up completed paperwork so that you can review it and then submit it timely by hand delivery, fax transmission, or certified, return-receipt mail.
- If you request fewer than 12 weeks leave and now require more time off, immediately inform your employer in writing. Let your supervisor and the human-resources department know the date you expect to return to work. Remember your FMLA permits up to but no more than 12 weeks of leave per year
Loring N. Spolter, an employment law trial attorney in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has lectured on the Family & Medical Leave Act for the American Bar Association, the National Employment Lawyers Association, and numerous other organizations. Previously, a prosecutor in the Brooklyn, New York, District Attorney’s Office, he began practicing employment law after developing Type-I/juvenile diabetes at 32 years of age.
From ResCare Premier. Used with permission. Third-party use prohibited. www.rescarepremiertexas.com.