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Do I have to notify my employer when I take FMLA leave?

Work is one of the most important elements in a person's life. However, it is certainly not the most important thing and it should not jeopardize your health or your family.

This is why there are laws in place to protect your job if you need to take time off to deal with a serious illness, care for a loved one or add to your family. In accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act, eligible employees are allowed to take time away from work without having to worry that they will lose their job. However, in order to take FMLA leave, you must follow some very strict rules. For instance, employees must give "appropriate notice" to employers when taking FMLA leave.

This can seem somewhat vague, which is unavoidable considering the fact that FMLA leave requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

However, there are a couple guidelines that can help you determine when to notify your employer.

  • If your leave is planned, you should notify your employer 30 days in advance. If you need to take leave in less than 30 days, notifying your employer as soon as possible will often suffice.
  • If your leave is unexpected and immediate, you should notify your employer as soon as you are able.

When you provide your notice, you must be sure that the request specifies the reason is related to a covered condition. You don't need to get into details like medical diagnoses, but you must give enough information to allow your employer to see that it is protected leave.

Unfortunately, there are people who try to abuse FMLA leave and some employers who think denying leave or job protection is better than complying with the laws. Because of these things, disputes can and do arise. 

If you are a Florida employee who has been denied leave, or if you feel you were wrongfully terminated or penalized for taking protecting leave, it will be vital that you discuss the case with an attorney. You have rights as an employee; if you don't know what these are or if you feel they have been violated, taking legal action can be the best way to protect yourself.

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