FAQs - Family Medical Leave Act
Q: Does the Family and Medical Leave
Act (FMLA) guarantee paid time off?
A: No. The FMLA only requires unpaid
leave. However, the law permits an employee to elect, or the employer
to require the employee, to use accrued paid leave, such as vacation
or sick leave, concurrently with some or all of the FMLA leave. Requiring
employees to exhaust paid leave concurrently with FMLA leave means
that the employee cannot be out for twelve weeks FMLA leave and then
have, for example, two weeks vacation in addition.
Q: What if the employee has been
employed for a total of more than a year, but had a break in service
and has only been back at work for seven months. Is the employee eligible
for FMLA leave?
A: If the employee has been employed
for at least a year AND worked for 1250 hours in the last twelve months,
yes. For example, if the employee was employed for three years, left
the company for four months and came back and has only worked seven
months, but has completed 1250 hours in those last seven months, the
employee would be eligible for leave, assuming it is for a qualified
Q: Does workers' compensation leave
count against an employee's FMLA leave entitlement?
A: It may. FMLA leave and workers'
compensation leave can run together, provided the reason for the absence
is due to a qualifying serious illness or injury and the employer properly
notifies the employee in writing that the leave will be counted as
Q: Who is considered
an immediate "family
member" for purposes of taking FMLA leave?
A: An employee's
spouse, children (son or daughter), and parents are immediate family
members for purposes of FMLA. The term "parent" does not include a parent "in-law." The
terms son or daughter do not include individuals age 18 or over unless
they are "incapable of self-care" because of mental or physical disability
that limits one or more of the "major life activities" as those terms
are defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Q: Are employees required to furnish
medical records for leave due to a serious health condition?
A: No. However, you may request
that the employee provide a medical certification confirming that a
serious health condition exists.
Q: What can an employer do about
an employee who needs intermittent leave for continuing treatment by
A: The employer can require the
employee to schedule appointments in the manner least disruptive to
the employee's work. For example, if the treatment can be scheduled
outside of the employee's regular work hours, the employer may require
the employee, if possible, to scheduled appointments so as not to interfere
Q: What can an employer do about
the health insurance premiums paid by the employer while an employee
was out on leave if the employee does not return to work?
A: If the employee fails to return
to work for a reason unrelated to the need for the leave, for example
if the employee decides not to return by choice, then the employer
can seek to recoup the employer's portion of the health insurance premiums
from the employee.
Q: What if an employer hears that
an employee on leave does not intend to return to work at the end of
A: An employer may require employees
to report periodically on their status and intent to return to work
while on FMLA leave, provided that the employer's policy regarding
requiring such reporting is not discriminatory. Therefore, it would
be a good idea to have an across the board policy requiring employees
on leave to certify their intent to return to work at the end of their
leave. It would probably be discriminatory to only require women on
leave for the birth of a child to provide such a certification.