An employer must honor the Family Medical Leave Act when an eligible employee makes a leave request for a qualifying reason.
There are situations where a denial is possible, and knowing your rights under FMLA leave will help you determine if a violation of rights occurred.
Your rights under FMLA
Eligible employees are those working for employers with a least 50 employees, as well as government employees at the local, state or federal level. Employees can space their allowable 12 weeks of protected leave across the year or take it at one time. Qualifying reasons include:
- A personal serious health condition
- Caring for a child, parent or spouse dealing with a serious health condition
- Bonding time with a newly adopted child, newly placed foster child or newly born child
Leave requests need 30 days’ notice unless the situation arrives unexpectedly. In this case, you must submit the request as soon as possible.
Potential reasons for leave denial
Your employer may ask for a certification form from your doctor to validate your leave request. However, there are situations where your employer can deny your leave.
One reason for denying leave concerns employment for less than 12 months or working less than 1,250 hours in 12 months. If there are less than 50 employees, the employer has no coverage under FMLA. Lacking a bona fide medical condition or seeking leave for a family member not covered by FMLA is another reason for denial.
Requesting leave for a non-qualifying reason or ineligible individual often leads to an FMLA denial. You can always submit a new request with supporting paperwork if you feel the denial is unjust.