Corporate Payroll Services

Your shipping department manager, Jack, is having knee replacement surgery next month.  He has been told by his doctor that he should plan to be out of the office recuperating for three to six weeks.  He has asked about Family Medical Leave (FMLA) eligibility.  You have appropriately designated his anticipated time away as FMLA leave, since he has been with your company for over 12 months, met the hours of service requirement in the preceding 12 months, and works at a site with at least 50 employees within 75 miles.  

Another employee, Caroline, has worked full time in your call center for a few years.  Her mother fell and broke her hip last month.  You’re aware of this because Caroline has mentioned visiting her at the rehab center before work.  This morning Caroline called the office to let you know that her mother is being discharged earlier than expected.  While recovering, she’ll still be wheelchair-bound and require assistance getting around the house, preparing meals, etc., until Caroline’s sister can come in from Cincinnati at the end of next week.  She doesn’t mention FMLA in her call to you.

Are you required to notify Caroline of her potential eligibility for FMLA leave?  The answer is yes.

If an employer “knows or should have known” that an employee needed leave for an FMLA-qualifying reason, but did not inform the employee of his or her FMLA rights, the employer could be subject to large damage awards to the affected employee.  While your notice obligation for foreseeable events, such as Jack’s planned surgery, is straightforward, you have additional responsibilities as an employer.  In unforeseen circumstances, if the employee informs you of a “serious health condition” of themselves or a family member, the employee does not have to specifically say “FMLA” for the employer’s obligation to kick in.  And even if your employee does not qualify for FMLA, you should still provide them with the Notice of Eligibility and Rights and Responsibilities.

If you have additional questions on FMLA, you can get answers in the HR Support.  For more information on HR Support Center, click below.
HR Support Center