Photo of Jeff Nowak

Jeff Nowak is a shareholder at Littler Mendelson P.C., the world’s largest employment and labor law practice representing management.  Jeff represents employers in all areas of labor and employment law, but his passion is the FMLA -- he eats, drinks and sleeps all things FMLA!

Earlier this year, the Department of Labor made clear in an opinion letter that neither an employee nor an employer may decline FMLA leave where an eligible employee is absent for an FMLA-qualifying reason.  As the DOL noted in this March 2019 opinion letter, this is particularly true even where the employee would prefer that

It’s a Friday in the middle of summer. So, approximately half of your workforce called off today due to an FMLA-related absence. [Well, not really, but I’m not that far off, amirite?]

Take heart. At least you’re not the City of Chicago.

As reported this week by the City’s Inspector General, three

It’s been just over 10 years since the Department of Labor last introduced wholesale changes to the FMLA regulations.

Remember those happy days back in 2009, when we were introduced to new FMLA notice requirements (for all), clarity over employee eligibility and holidays, emphasis on call-in procedures, favorable bonus language and waivers of FMLA rights? 

Every one of you employs at least one of these employees — you know, the one who:

  • requests medical leave because of, let’s say, his uromysitisis poisoning (clearly, an FMLA-qualifying condition); but
  • wants to use his accrued paid leave instead of tapping into FMLA?

He might even get indignant, insisting that the law allows him