“I’m calling out sick today, I don’t feel well… oh and I’m using FMLA”.
Let’s rewind and first understand what FMLA is in its most basic form.
FMLA is a federal law that provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid job protected leave for eligible employees within a year. Either for the employee’s own serious health condition, to take care of an immediate family member with a serious health condition, for the birth and care of a child, and placement of a child for adoption or foster care.
Job protection means that your employer cannot necessarily fire you for being out on leave under FMLA. However, in order to go out on leave under FMLA you must have worked for your current employer for at least 12 months and 1250 hours.
A serious health condition, is any health condition that requires the employee to be incapacitated for a period of more than 3 consecutive days (which includes inpatient care and/or continuing treatment) and the employee is unable to perform the essential duties of their job.
If it is probable that the employee’s absence may be covered under FMLA, a notice and certification must be provided to the employee so their healthcare provider can make a determination if a serious health condition exist.
So for this employee who wants to call out sick and claim FMLA with no supporting documentation, let’s hope they have a good story. A lot of employees fake the funk and try to abuse FMLA. But in the reality of it all, the time away from work might be FMLA but the proper protocols must be followed in order to make a precise determination.
While FMLA is not completely difficult to manage; it can turn into a FML situation if it is not administered efficiently and correctly.
If you want something a little more detailed, the DOL provides a fact sheet on their site.