A 7-Point Checklist for Responding to a Request for Family or Medical Leave

Here are the basics for how a nonprofit should handle an employee's request to take Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. For more, be sure to see Wading through New Family and Medical Leave Act Regulations.

The employer must send the employee an eligibility notice within five business days of request for FMLA leave.

1. The employer must determine if an employee is eligible for FMLA leave (12-month/1250 hour requirement).

2. The employer should decide if it has enough information to certify that the employee has a serious medical condition or if she or he will require medical certification. A request for medical certification should be included in the eligibility notice, with a return date of 15 business days.

The employer must send the employee a designation notice, within five business days of determining eligibility.

3. The employer can designate the leave as qualifying under the FMLA, contingent upon receipt of the medical certification.

4. Once the employer receives medical certification, limited management personnel can directly contact the practitioner to resolve all ambiguities and inconsistencies in the certification.

5. If there is disagreement between the employer and the employee as to whether the leave qualifies under the FMLA, the two parties must sit down and attempt to agree on the situation, with a written record of discussion.

6 The employer should designate what time is considered FMLA leave.

7. The employer should let the employee know if it is requiring a fitness-for-duty certification before the employee returns to work and include a list of the employee's essential job duties in the FMLA designation notice to give to the medical practitioner.

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