The Family and Medical Leave Act can provide much-needed time away from work for Michigan employees who qualify and are facing a serious medical condition or who need to care for a loved one with a serious condition. However, the FMLA does have requirements for who can take protected leave and how to request such leave. In particular, employees need to provide notice within an appropriate amount of time.
In some cases, individuals know ahead of time when they will need leave. For example, if a worker is expecting a child and knows the anticipated due date, it is possible to provide an employer with notice of when leave will likely begin. With cases involving a foreseeable need, employees should give employers at least 30 days’ notice before taking FMLA leave.
Of course, not all medical emergencies and the need for extended leave are predictable. Fortunately, the law takes this type of scenario into account as well. Individuals facing an unforeseeable need for leave must provide notice to employers as soon as practicable. Obviously, this requirement could be considered vague, and what constitutes “as soon as practicable” could depend on the exact circumstances of a person’s predicament.
Unfortunately, even when given proper notice, some employers may not follow the FMLA guidelines by approving leave or by protecting a person’s employment. In cases where an employer violates the law and retaliates against an employee taking leave or unjustly denies leave, the worker could be left in a difficult position. Luckily, if Michigan employees do face such violations, they may be able to take legal action to address the unfair treatment and protect their rights.