If you’re like most people in Glendale, Los Angeles, and the surrounding communities, you’ve heard of FMLA—the Family and Medical Leave Act—and you know how it applies to you. However, the law can be a bit confusing. Many people turn to an FMLA denial lawyer to find out whether what they’ve heard is actually true.
Sometimes, it isn’t.
5 Common FMLA Myths You Might Believe
Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions (and outright myths) about FMLA and employee rights. In some cases, people who need it have been led to believe that it doesn’t protect them; in others, people just don’t know that they’re entitled to its protection.
FMLA Myth #1: Your Employer Has to Approve FMLA Leave, No Matter What
You can’t be denied FMLA leave if:
- You’re an eligible employee of a covered employer
- The reason you’re requesting leave is covered by the FMLA
- You gave your employer enough information to determine that you were asking for leave under the FMLA
- You requested leave 30 days prior to when you needed to take it (or as soon as reasonably possible, if 30 days wasn’t possible)
- You haven’t already used your protected leave in the current 12-month period
If you don’t meet all of those conditions, your employer can deny your request for FMLA leave.
FMLA Myth #2: Your Employer Can’t Force You to Use Paid Leave With FMLA
Your employer can make you use paid leave with FMLA, but your employer must notify you whether it will be paid or unpaid within five business days of learning that you’re taking leave for an FMLA-qualifying reason.
FMLA Myth #3: You Can Take FMLA Leave Whenever You Want After Your Employer Approves It
When your employer approves your FMLA leave, it’s only valid during the leave periods approved—it’s not valid any time. You certainly have the right to FMLA leave when you need it, but you need to make the FMLA request as soon as possible after you realize that you do need it.
The exception is intermittent FMLA leave, which you can take under certain circumstances:
- When it is medically necessary for you to care for a seriously ill family member
- When it’s necessary for your serious health condition
- When it involves taking care of a newborn (or a newly placed adopted or foster child), but only with your employer’s approval
FMLA Myth #4: Your Employer Has to Leave You Alone When You’re on FMLA Leave
Your employer has the obligation to follow up with you about recertification when you’re on FMLA leave; you have to recertify every year if any type of this leave will extend more than a year. If the initial certification didn’t include a specific leave period, your employer can ask you to recertify every six months. Further, your employer can request recertification if you request an extension of your leave, if your circumstances have changed, or if your employer doubts that your leave is valid under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
If you’re taking intermittent leave, you still have to follow your employer’s rules about calling in.
FMLA Myth #5: You’ll Automatically Get the Same Job Back
Your employer doesn’t have to put you back into your prior position when you return from FMLA leave. The law states that your employer must either return you to the same position or an equivalent position with the same benefits, conditions, and responsibilities. The same is true if you’re in a temporary position and you take intermittent leave.
Do You Need to Talk to an FMLA Denial Lawyer in Glendale?
If you’re not sure about what your employer has told you, or if your employer has violated your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act, you may want to talk to an FMLA denial lawyer as soon as possible.
Call us at 818-659-8324 or toll-free at 800-774-4163 immediately to discuss your case. We’ll evaluate your situation and talk about your options to move forward.