How to Determine Whether an Employee Is Eligible For FMLA

We were recently asked “We have over 50 employees, so I know the FMLA applies to us, but how do I determine whether an employee is eligible?

And what do I do if they are?” The FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) is a big topic for growing companies and we want to help you master the subject.

An employee is eligible for FMLA if they:

  • Work for a covered employer
  • Have worked for the employer for at least 12 months total (time need not be consecutive)
  • Worked at least 1,250 hours for the employer during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave
  • Work at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles.

If an eligible employee requests FMLA, or you have sufficient information to know that an employee has an FMLA-qualifying reason for leave, you should provide the employee with the FMLA paperwork. This must be done within five business days of determining that an absence may qualify for FMLA.

The initial paperwork includes:

  1. FMLA Request Form
  2. Appropriate Certification Form
  3. FMLA Safe Harbor Form
  4. Notification of Eligibility, Rights, and Responsibilities

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When providing the initial paperwork, be sure to inform the employee that they have fifteen calendar days to return the request and certification form. Once you get these back, you will formally designate the leave by providing the employee with the following forms:

  1. Designation Notice
  2. Benefits Continuation Letter, if the employee participates in any company-sponsored insurance plans

You need to be aware of the FMLA eligibility requirements, and communicate the information to your employees who utilize it.