Employees must work for their employer for at least one year before they’re eligible for. They also must have worked at least 1,250 hours in those previous 12 months.
Plus, they have to give you at least 30 days’ notice before taking leave when possible.
That means some employees—seeing theireligibility on the horizon—may ask for FMLA leave before they’ve actually hit those one-year and 1,250-hour eligibility milestones.
That’s OK. Remember, employers can’t deny an employee’s FMLA request simply because it was made before the employee became eligible.
Recent case: Richard Bennett worked at a Walmart store for 10 months when his doctor gave him a medical certification for. Bennett had a knee problem that flared up periodically, and which his doctor estimated would require three to seven days of leave twice in the next six months.
Three months later, Bennett told his boss he’d need a day off because of knee pains. The boss allegedly told him to come to work. When Bennett refused, he was fired for alleged misconduct. He sued, alleging FMLA interference.
Walmart argued that because Bennett wasn’t eligible for leave at the time he made the initial request, he couldn’t take the FMLA leave. The court disagreed, saying that what counts is the first day of leave for eligibility reasons, not the request date. (Bennett v. Wal-Mart, No. 11-3066, CD IL, 2011)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- How to ensure your employee handbook supports FMLA compliance
- Balance FMLA and ADA rights to avoid potential trouble
- Beware ADA retaliation trap if employee asks for more time off after FMLA leave expires
- Place employee on 'provisional' FMLA leave while seeking 2nd, 3rd certifications