The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was amended effective January 1, 2009 and some new regulations were thereafter written by the Dept. of Labor interpreting the Act. Now, in order to qualify for leave, the employee must establish that he has a “serious health condition” involving either an overnight stay in the hospital or continuing treatment by a healthcare provider that involves the inability to perform his job or daily activities and the employee must see a healthcare provider at least twice within a thirty day period, with the first visit being within seven days of when the need for the leave arises. So, you need to remember that you must go to the the doctor and then remember to ask your doctor to schedule you a follow up appointment within 30 days or you probably will lose any FMLA protection for the absence. In other words, your absence can be used by your employer to terminate you or discipline you unless you go at least twice to the doctor for the illness. If your illness is a chronic condition where you are off intermittently, you don’t have to go to the doctor each time you are off for the flare-up but you must go to the healthcare provider at least twice a year. Remember– no doctor visits, no FMLA protection. Also, it is now the employee’s duty to secure any medical certification (requested by the employer) from the healthcare provider regarding the existence of a serious health condition. If the employee fails to see that the doctor provides it, then it is on the employee’s head. No more can the employee just blame it on the doctor; the employee must stay after the doctor and see that the doctor provides the certification. However, if the healthcare provider gives a faulty or incomplete certification, the employer must inform the employee as to how the certification is faulty and tell the employee that they have a certain length of time to get it fixed. The employee is now required to notify the employer of unforseeable emergency leave as soon as practical and within the rules of the employer regarding this type notice of leave. Failure to give the notice can result in the leave not qualifying for FMLA protection.
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