Giving proper notice when it comes to employment leave is critical. While many people assume the requirement to give proper notice falls solely on the shoulders of the employee taking leave, employers also have an obligation to give proper notice. This is particularly important to remember when it comes to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
In accordance with the FMLA, all covered employers must take specific steps to inform and notify all employees about the FMLA. There are three points of notification employers must provide.
- A general notice about the FMLA: This could be the FMLA poster prepared by the Department of Labor or another notice, as long as it includes all the information presented in the poster. The notice must be in a conspicuous place accessible to all employees. Employee handbooks should also contain the notification.
- Notice of eligibility: An employer must provide an employee with notice of eligibility status within five business days of receiving a leave request. The notice must confirm eligibility or provide at least one reason why the employee is not eligible for FMLA leave. This notice must also instructions, requirements and rights associated with the leave.
- Notice of designation: If an employee’s leave is for an FMLA-qualifying reason, then an employer must, within five business days, provide notice that the leave is to be designated as FMLA leave. This notice must also detail any substitutions for paid leave that may apply as well as the amount of time to be counted against FMLA entitlement, if that is known.
Should an employer fail to comply with these or any other requirements under the FMLA, there can be serious repercussions. This includes legal claims that affected employees choose to file.
If you are an employee who did not receive proper FMLA notification, or if you feel your employer wrongfully denied your request for leave, then it can be a good idea to discuss your legal options with a legal representative.