One of the greatest frustrations with the “old” Family and Medical Leave Act was how it regulated company call-in procedures. With the new and improved version, the Department of Labor pretty much allows a company to require compliance with its call-in procedures so long as it doesn’t restrict the rights of the FMLA.
As the preamble to the final rule noted:
“The Department recognizes that call-in procedures are routinely enforced in the workplace and are critical to an employer’s ability to ensure appropriate staffing levels. Such procedures specify both to whom and when an employee is required to report an absence. The Department believes that employers should be able to enforce non-discriminatory call-in procedures, except where an employer’s call-in procedures are more stringent than the timing for FMLA notice. Additionally, where unusual circumstances prevent an employee from seeking FMLA-protected leave from complying with the procedures, the employee will be entitled to FMLA-protected leave, so long as the employee complies with the policy as soon as he or she can practically do so.”
So, if an employee can’t call with a foreseeable leave 30 days in advance, then they should be able to do so at least, “absent emergency situations, where an employee becomes aware of a need for FMLA leave less than 30 days in advance, the Department expects that it would be practical for the employee to provide notice of the need for leave either the same day (if the employee becomes aware of the need for leave during working hours) or the next business day (if the employee becomes aware of the need for leave after work hours).”
This month’s Form of the Month is a standard leave notice requirement that incorporates in the FMLA language. As always, if you’re an HR That Works member and have any questions about the FMLA, please don’t hesitate to contact the Hotline.
Opinion Letter: FMLA 2009-1-A does a good job of summarizing the above.