Q & A Session – Leave for a Family Medical Emergency


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 notified my manager of a family emergency and left the office early. It was a medical situation. He wrote me an email telling me that this was insufficient information and he needed to know more. What specifically do I have to tell him and what is the penalty for not divulging more information to him? 


Under FMLA, employees may use leave when a family member is ill. FMLA only guarantees unpaid leave. When requesting/obtaining leave under FMLA, employees must follow their employer’s normal procedures for requesting leave and any call-in requirements (e.g. time limit an employee must call to notify an employer of an unanticipated absence). Employers are permitted to require the employee produce documentation from a health care provider to show the family member’s serious medical condition. The employer must allow the employee reasonable amount of time, usually 15 days, to obtain appropriate supporting medical documentation. Employees should check their employer’s leave policies for the time limit by which they must provide the supporting documentation. 

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

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