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Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Eligible employees are entitled to:

Source: United States Department of Labor

Applicable Laws & Regulations



References to Best Practices & Other Supplemental Material

Government Resources

FMLA Compliance Checklist

Created by the SUNY Employee-Relayed Compliance Workgroup and reviewed by the Office of General Counsel


  • Post the required FMLA Poster at each worksite (can be posted electronically).
  • Include an explanation of the FMLA, including employee’s rights and employer’s responsibilities, in employee handbook, and in new employee packets (general notice language from FMLA Poster can be used for this purpose).
  • Provide an explanation of rights and responsibilities under FMLA to employees taking leave.
  • Keep medical information, including the medical certification form, separate from the employee’s regular personnel file in a place where is will remain confidential for at least 3 years.
  • Maintain FMLA log of time used and send employee notification of amount of time used and how much time remains.


  1. For employee-requested leave: 30 days’ notice is required when the need for leave is foreseeable. When advance notice is not possible, the employee must provide notice as soon as practical; OR
  2. The employee has called in sick three days and/or requires time off work due to a serious health condition for self or immediate family member; OR
  3. The employer is “on notice” that an employee’s absence may be for an FMLA qualifying reason.


Employee must have at least 12 months of service (need not be continuous) and at least 1,250 hours actually worked in the 12 month period immediately preceding commencement of the leave (hours actually worked includes overtime, but does not include holiday, vacation, sick leave, or other paid leaves).Verify prior use of FMLA leave within the past 12 months.


Notification made within 5 business days of receipt of leave request or notice; includes request for certification of the need for leave and a definition of the 12-month period the employer uses to keep track of FMLA usage.

Eligibility and Rights Notification consists of all of the following:

  • Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Obligations Form (Form)
  • Certification of Health Care Provider Form (select appropriate form – for employee, for family member)
  • Return to Work Certification Form, if applicable (example form)


Medical certification should be received within 15 calendar days of receipt. If employee does not provide certification within 15 days, and leave is subsequently denied, be sure the employee was clearly notified of the timeframe and consequences for failure to return the certification on time. If certification is unclear or incomplete, Human Resources will state in writing what additional information is necessary to make the certification complete. Employer must give the employee 7 calendar days to provide the additional information.


Within 5 business days of employer receiving sufficient information regarding qualification of leave, Human Resources provides written Designation Noticeto employee. Designation may be applied retroactively as long as appropriate and timely notice has been provided to the employee.

Designation Notice consists of all of the following:

Designation Notice (FMLA) Form and Return to Work Certification Form (example) with copy of employee’s position description (if applicable).


If previously requested, employee must provide Return to Work Certification Form prior to return to work.

Updates on the FMLA

NOTICE From the Department of Labor: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division published a Final Rule on February 6, 2013, which became effective on March 8, 2013, to implement statutory amendments to the FMLA. This Advisor has been updated to reflect the 2013 Final Rule. More Information.  Leave taken prior to March 8, 2013 may be subject to previous regulations.

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The information contained on the SUNY Compliance website is for general campus guidance only and is not intended, nor can be relied upon, as legal advice or the imposition on SUNY campuses of specific policies or requirements. The site is intended to be an informational-only clearinghouse for some of the laws, rules, and regulations that may impact the State University of New York’s campuses. Additionally, given the rapid, changing nature of laws, rules and regulations, there may be delays or omissions contained on this site which therefore cannot be relied upon as complete. For complete compliance information, consult your campus compliance officials. For legal advice, consult your lawyer.