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July 01, 2010
'Unforeseeable' Leaves under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

In a BLR webinar entitled "Employee Leaves: How to Handle the Common Time-Off Scenarios That Come Up Again and Again," Sarah H. Lamar, Esq., partner in the law firm Hunter, Maclean, Exley and Dunn, P.C. and Bradley R. Johnson, Esq., partner in the law firm Taylor, Day Currie, Boyd and Johnson, P.A. explained that, for unforeseeable leave with no unusual circumstances, employees must provide notice of leave according to an employer's usual and customary notice requirements for such leave.

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However, if an employee requires emergency medical treatment, he or she would not be required to follow the call-in procedure until his or her condition is stabilized, and he or she has access to, and is able to use, a phone.

When the need for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave is unforeseeable and an employee fails to give notice in accordance with an employer's usual and customary notice requirements for such leave, the extent to which an employer may delay FMLA coverage for leave depends on the facts of the particular case. For example, if it would have been practicable for an employee to have given the employer notice of the need for leave very soon after the need arises consistent with the employer's policy, but instead the employee provided notice 2 days after the leave began, then the employer may delay FMLA coverage of the leave by 2 days.

Sarah H. Lamar, Esq. is a partner in the Savannah office of law firm Hunter, Maclean, Exley and Dunn, P.C. (www.huntermaclean.com). She represents employers in federal and state courts and is chair-elect of ALFA International, a global legal networking organization. Bradley R. Johnson, Esq. is a partner in the Jacksonville offices of law firm Taylor, Day, Currie, Boyd and Johnson, P.A. (www.tdclaw.com). He represents employers in litigation, class actions and administrative proceedings.


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