Employee Late FML Request

Good afternoon! If an employee notifies you that they want to classify some absences as FML (3 different instances between 3-6 months ago) but either failed to notify me or failed to return their paperwork (and admits to that), do we have to go back and submit the paperwork to see if they qualified at that time or can we refuse to qualify the leave based on the fact that they did not make timely notification. This is all coming about now because of a bonus being offered and attendance is one of the criteria...which we exempt FML from the attendance. Any guidance is appreciated! :help:


  • 5 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • The employer designates FMLA. If the employee doesn't comply with the requirements to return the completed Health Care Provider forms within 15 days of the date leave began, I don't see how you can qualify that leave as FMLA.

    Hope this helps.
  • While you could retroactively deem the absences as FMLA, I agree with Nevada. The employee did not comply with the certification requirements, so the leave is considered an unpaid, personal leave.
  • Thank you both for your response. There are actually 3 instances...one I knew about and they did not respond timely. The other two I knew nothing about and because of the attendance being a part of bonus criteria, they want to go back (2-3 months) to get it approved as FML. So...because I now am aware of it, do I need to get paperwork on both instances to certify?
  • I think that depends. Did the employee make another supervisor aware of the reason for the leave or should you/they have reasonably known that the leave qualified as FMLA? If yes, then I would be more lenient in retroactively granting the leave since you did "harm" the employee by not deeming the leave as FMLA. How will granting or denying this request affect the rest of your workforce (morale, view of FMLA, granting future retroactive leave, etc.)?
  • Another thought to consider is that they are allowed a certain amount of FMLA leave per year, so if those previous instances count towards their yearly alottment then it's a protection for you should more FMLA come up later in the same year period.