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Is There a Timing Requirement for Taking FMLA Leave?

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Iowa residents who are seeking to take time off from their job with their employment protected under the Family and Medical Leave Act should know that there are certain requirements that go along with it. One key requirement is the timing of when the employee will give notice that FMLA leave will be taken. Provided all the basic rules are in place for a worker to use FMLA, the employer must allow its use. If the worker adheres to the requirements and is harassed, threatened or even dismissed because of it, it could be the foundation for a legal filing to be compensated.

For workers planning to use leave under the FMLA, there are two categories of timing: foreseeable and unforeseeable. If the leave is foreseeable, the employee is required to give the employer a minimum of 30-days of notice that FMLA will be necessary if it is viable to give it. If the employee has a medical procedure planned, then this will be considered foreseeable.

If there is a change in situation or the employee is not aware of precisely when he or she will need time off, the notice must be given when it is practical and possible. If the employee does not provide a reasonable excuse before 30-days prior to the need to take FMLA, the employer has the right to delay FMLA until 30 days after notification. With planned medical treatment, the employee must try to schedule it to avoid disruption to the employer.

With unforeseeable leave, the employee is required to give notice as soon as possible. If an employee who does not give notice when the leave is unforeseeable and there is no reasonable excuse, FMLA can be delayed or denied. The individual case will determine how far the employer can go in denying FMLA leave. When an employee who can give notice the same day unforeseeable FMLA leave was needed, but did not inform the employer for a certain time period, the employer can then delay the coverage for the number of days the employee waited.

FMLA is a vital benefit for workers who qualify, as it protects employees from consequences for taking time off. It is wise for the employee to understand the various rules that go along with FMLA. In some cases, the employer might not even be fully cognizant of them. When there are FMLA violations on the part of an employer and the employee was penalized because of it, a legal filing can help them receive the benefits they may deserve.

Source:, “Fact Sheet #28E: Employee Notice Requirements under the Family and Medical Leave Act — Timing of the Employee’s Notice,” accessed on April 24, 2018