Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Notification and Procedure

Background

This document provides instructions on how to inform employees about the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and how to process requests for FMLA leave.

Procedure to Notify Employees About FMLA

The following table summarizes the steps that must be taken to inform employees about FMLA:

Step

Action

1

Post the Employee Rights and Responsibilities Under FMLA.

2

Refer employees to the Benefits Handbook containing FMLA information.

3

Require that employees use the Employee Request for Leave Form or its equivalent and appropriate U.S. DOL forms when requesting leave appropriate under FMLA.

4

Give the FMLA Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities to employees requesting leave appropriate under FMLA.

Informing Employees When To Request FMLA Leave

An employee wishing to take leave under FMLA should give at least 30 days notice prior to taking leave. If this is not possible, immediate notification is required.

An employee who requests leave appropriate under FMLA must be fully informed of his or her rights under FMLA. In order to comply with this request, operating locations must:

How to Request Leave Under FMLA

Employees who wish to request leave specifically under the terms and conditions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) must carry out the steps in the following table:

Step

Action

1

Apply for leave on the form provided by the operating location, either the Employee Request for Leave form or its equivalent.

Note: The Employee Request for Leave form is on the FMLA: Request for Leave Forms and Posted Notices page.

2

If leave is being requested for a serious health condition, provide a medical certification.

To certify his or her condition, an employee should use form DB450, Notice and Proof of Claim for Disability Benefits and/or U.S. DOL WH-380-E.

Note: When an eligible employee is approved for New York State (NYS) disability, the FMLA period is concurrent with the NYS disability period for 12 weeks or until the end of the certified disability, whichever time period is shorter.

To certify the condition of a family member, an employee should use U.S. Department of Labor form
WH-380-F, the Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition form.

Note: A second or third medical opinion may be required at the Research Foundation's request and expense.

3

If leave is being requested for a Qualifying Exigency or Military Caregiver Leave, provide the appropriate certification:

Employer Designation of FMLA Leave

An employee absence of three or more days should be reviewed by the operating location to determine whether it meets the conditions for leave under FMLA. If it does and the employee is eligible under FMLA, the leave must be designated as leave taken under FMLA.

Leave can only be retroactively designated as FMLA if the employee would have taken the leave regardless of whether they knew it would be designated as such. For example, leave for a personal illness would have still been taken, but leave to care for others might not have. If the employee has returned to work, the employer can only retroactively designate the leave as taken under FMLA if the employer had no prior knowledge about the leave.

The employer must make the designation within five business days of acquiring knowledge of the absence.

The employer may at first orally inform the employee of the designation, but the employer must notify the employee in writing about the designation before the end of the next regular pay period after the designation was made, unless that will occur in less than a week. In that case, written notification must be made before the end of the following pay period.

Posting Notices

Employers are required to post the Employee Rights and Responsibilities Under FMLA. The posting notice is available on the FMLA: Request for Leave Forms and Posted Notices page, or the U.S. Department of Labor Web site.

Employee Handbooks

Employee booklets must include information about employee rights under FMLA. In order to comply with this requirement, the Research Foundation Central Office of Administration and Human Resources has included an FMLA section in the current Benefits Handbook and Employee Handbook. Operating locations should distribute the Employee Handbook and Benefits Handbook to new employees.

Reviewing Leave Requests

Guidelines

Operating locations must review all requests for leave under FMLA to determine whether the request meets the requirements of FMLA.


Confidentiality

Operating locations must maintain the confidentiality of medical records related to leave requested and taken under FMLA.


Review Checklist

Operating locations may use the following checklist to help determine whether FMLA applies.

Question

Comment

1. Is the employee eligible for leave under FMLA? That is:

(a) Has the employee been employed for at least 12 months?

(b) Has the employee worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the date leave is to begin?

If the answer is "no," the employee is not eligible for leave under FMLA, and the Research Foundation's general leave policy and guidelines apply.

2. Is leave being requested for one of the following reasons?

(c) the birth of a child

(d) the placement of a child for adoption or foster care

(e) the serious health condition of the employee

(f) the serious health condition of an immediate family member

(g) qualifying exigency leave

(h) military caregiver leave

If the answer is "no," the employee is not eligible for leave under FMLA, and the Research Foundation's general leave policy and guidelines apply.

3.(a) Is the amount of leave requested within the permitted limit?

Note: Eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave (26 weeks for military caregiver leave) during a 12-month period that begins at the start of the leave period, but does not extend beyond the appointment period.

(b) If the employee's spouse is also eligible for leave under FMLA, and leave is being requested for the birth of a child or placement of a child for adoption or foster care, is the amount of leave requested within the permitted limit?

Note: When both spouses are employed by the Research Foundation and both are eligible for leave under FMLA, they are entitled to a combined total of 12 weeks of leave per 12-month period for birth of a child or placement of a child for adoption or foster care.

If the answer is "no," the employee may be eligible to take a lesser amount of leave under FMLA than he or she has requested. In such cases the employee must be notified that his or her request has exceeded the amount allowed, informed of the amount that may be requested, and allowed to request a lesser amount.

Approving Leave Requests

When FMLA Applies

If the employee is eligible for leave under FMLA, the leave requested is appropriate under FMLA, and the amount of leave requested is within the limits set by FMLA, the leave request must be approved by the operating location. If necessary, employees who have not done so must provide a medical certification and an application for continuation of benefits.

The approved leave must be administered under the terms and conditions of the Family and Medical Leave Act, as well as, where appropriate, under the Research Foundation's general leave policy and guidelines, and, if appropriate, according to NYS Disability requirements.


When FMLA Does Not Apply

If the employee is not eligible for FMLA, is requesting leave for a purpose not allowed under FMLA, or has already used all the leave he or she is entitled to under FMLA for the appropriate 12-month period, the operating location may not be required to approve the leave request.

Requests for vacation, sick, holiday, or personal leave may or may not be granted by the operating location under the Research Foundation's general leave policy, depending on the employee's eligibility and accruals and the needs of the operating location. Leave under the Research Foundation's general leave policy must have the approval of the employee's manager. If leave is granted, it must be administered according to the Research Foundation's general leave policy and guidelines.

Requests for disability leave must be reviewed and disability leave must be administered according to NYS Disability requirements.

Responding to FMLA Leave Requests

Operating locations must respond in writing to employee requests for family and/or medical leave.

Operating locations should use U.S. Department of Labor form WH-381, Notice of Eligibility and Rights and Responsibilities form and WH-382, Designation Notice or similar forms developed locally to respond to employee FMLA requests.

FMLA Records

The office responsible for Research Foundation Human Resources must retain the following documents for each leave request under FMLA:

Change History

 

 

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