An employer must provide written notice to an employee each that an employee gives notice of the need for FMLA leave. The employer has to give the notice within a reasonable time after notice of the need for
leave is given by the employee (within one or two business days if feasible.) [See 29 CFR 825.301 (c)]
The employer has to provide the employee with written notice detailing the specific expectations and obligations of the employee and explaining any consequences of a failure to meet these obligations. The written notice must be provided to the employee in a language in which the employee is literate (see Sec. 825.300(c)).
Section 29 CFR.301(b) provides that the written notice must include, as appropriate:
- that the leave will be counted against the employee’s annual FMLA leave entitlement (see Sec. 825.208);
- any requirements for the employee to furnish medical certification of a serious health condition and the consequences of failing to do so (see Sec. 825.305);
- the employee’s right to substitute paid leave and whether the employer will require the substitution of paid leave, and the conditions related to any substitution;
- any requirement for the employee to make any premium payments to maintain health benefits and the arrangements for making such payments (see Sec. 825.210), and the possible consequences of failure to make such payments on a timely basis (i.e., the circumstances under which coverage may lapse);
- any requirement for the employee to present a fitness-for-duty certificate to be restored to employment (see Sec. 825.310);
- the employee’s status as a “key employee” and the potential consequence that restoration may be denied following FMLA leave, explaining the conditions required for such denial (see Sec. 825.218);
- the employee’s right to restoration to the same or an equivalent job upon return from leave (see Secs. 825.214 and 825.604); and,
- the employee’s potential liability for payment of health insurance premiums paid by the employer during the employee’s unpaid FMLA leave if the employee fails to return to work after taking FMLA leave (see Sec. 825.213).
The notice may include other information–e.g., whether the employer will require periodic reports of the employee’s status and intent to return to work, but is not required to do so. A prototype notice is DOL Form WH-381 (.pdf).