When can you place an employee on FMLA?

September 8, 2015

Category: Answers

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Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, leave begins when the employer certifies the leave.

Under the guidelines](http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs28d.pdf) prescribed by the [US Department of Labor, an employee goes on FMLA leave on the day the leave was requested if the employee’s eligibility was verified by the company and the leave was certified.


The first step in placing the employee on leave through FMLA is to verify the employee’s eligibility. In order to be eligible, the employee must work:

– A minimum of 1,250 hours in the past 12 months

– For at least 12 months for the employer

– At a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles

If the employee qualifies under the above guidelines, you may proceed to the certification process. Once the leave is certified, the clock begins on the employee’s leave.

Certification of Leave

The next step to ensuring that your employee is on proper leave is to provide the employee with certification. The certification is known as a Notice of Eligibility, Rights, and Responsibilities and must adhere to the following:

– The notice can be either oral or in writing.

– It must be provided within 5 business days of the initial request or when the employer becomes aware of the need for leave.

– The notice must indicate the employee’s eligibility and if the employee isn’t eligible, the notice must give at least one reason why the request was denied.


If you’ve an employee who’s given you notice of a future surgery and you’ve verified that this leave falls under FMLA and certified the leave, then the employee can begin FMLA leave on the date of their surgery. The timing of the start of FMLA leave depends on when the employer gives the notice, thereby certifying the leave.

Helpful Links:

Fact Sheet for 12 months of Leave – DOL.gov

Guidelines for Approving or Denying a Request for Medical Leave – SHRM.org

Category: Answers

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