Q & A Session – FMLA and Furloughs


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, just two days before my furlough. During that time, I had lumpectomy and lymph node removal. My surgeon filled out the Family Leave and Medical Act (FMLA) paperwork dating my condition from the beginning of my illness. Immediately after I returned to work, I submitted the paperwork and my immediate manager refused to submit it for approval. The paperwork had the condition listed and all information was honest. I need additional surgery – a mastectomy and reconstruction. This obviously will put me out of work. What can I do?


The fact that you were furloughed complicates things a bit, but that does not appear to be your problem. Your illness certainly qualifies for FMLA and your documentation appears adequate. You should be entitled to time off. Whether it’s paid time off depends on whether you want to use sick or annual leave and whether you are furloughed. Twelve weeks of leave without pay per year is an entitlement.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

Disclaimer: Ask a Lawyer publishes information on this website for informational purposes only. Information on this website is intended – but not promised, guaranteed, or warranted – to reflect correct, complete and current developments. In addition, the contents of the website do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the attorney. Information from this website is not intended to be used as a substitute for specific legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based on information on this website without seeking specific legal advice about your particular circumstances. No attorney-client relationship between you and Ask a Lawyer’s author is created by the transmission of information to or from this site.


About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

Leave A Reply