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Family Leave Act - Illinois - how much notice?
August 7, 2012 7:53 PM   Subscribe

How much notice would a person have to provide their employer (large hospital but she works in a smaller satellite medical office of less than 50 employees)in order to qualify for emergency medical leave?

The employee (my niece) has worked there over 10 years and needs to take 2 months off to move her elderly, ill parents from their home to a nearby retirement center. Her mom has Alzheimer's and her dad has dementia due to lack of blood flow to the brain. The house is sold but there needs to be a huge garage sale of everything they aren't bringing with them, the move must be arranged and undertaken and then the parents have to be settled in the new center. Right now she is trying to start all this happening while working 40 hours and taking care of her husband who is in poor health. She needs to get the leave asap as her parents have to be out of their house in one month. I wonder if Illinois has any special peculiarities in the FMLA.
posted by Tullyogallaghan to Law & Government (8 answers total)
 
"Employee Responsibilities
Employees must provide 30 days advance notice of the need to take FMLA leave when the need is foreseeable. When 30 days notice is not possible, the employee must provide notice as soon as practicable and generally must comply with an employer’s normal call-in procedures."

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posted by chiababe at 8:06 PM on August 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


chiababe has correctly answered the question. I could possibly see an employer requiring the 30 days notice because this is not strictly an emergency (the house sale was foreseeable, and presumably your niece knew about it), but I would not view such an employer very highly.

The FMLA is only applicable if there are more than 50 employees within a 75 mile radius of where you work. If the satellite office is more than 75 miles away from other offices or if the offices within 75 miles don't add up to 50 employees, it is possible your niece is not covered under the FMLA.

A useful bit of information is that the FMLA requires allowing leave for "psychological comfort" of a family member. Such a provision can be used to justify wide reaching help for your niece's parents as you have mentioned.
posted by saeculorum at 8:16 PM on August 7, 2012


I hope someone familiar with Illinois law will jump in to say so, because it does not appear as if Illinois has any leave laws that provide greater coverage than what your niece would receive under FMLA.

So, assuming FMLA (as opposed to a more employee-friendly state or local leave provision) applies, and assuming your niece is otherwise eligible, the threshold question is what is the employer's policy as far as notification? FMLA allows an employer to require up to 30 days of notice when leave is forseeable. Employers could require less, though.

If the employer does require 30 days in the case of forseeable leave, this is arguably a case where leave is forseeable, so your niece's best practice would be to request the leave as soon as possible.

I've never encountered an employer who has denied an otherwise totally reasonable request for FMLA just because it wasn't made a full 30 days in advance. That would be odd. But, your niece should get her act together and request the leave now that she knows she needs it.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:36 PM on August 7, 2012


She needs to request the leave ASAP, especially since this leave may not be covered under the FMLA. FMLA leave is medical leave; it doesn't cover time off that you need to hold garage sales, prepare a house to be sold, etc. It may cover some of the time she needs, but not all. She'll either need to find a doctor willing to bend the truth (or be vague with the paperwork) or hope her employer will grant a personal leave if FMLA does not apply to all of the leave she needs.

The "psychological comfort" saeculorum mentions is often a handy clause, but would be quite a stretch in this case, and her employer will likely see that. Since she's a long-term employee, ideally, the fact that FMLA may not apply will be irrelevant. Because FMLA may not apply, though, she needs to make this request immediately.
posted by pecanpies at 5:46 AM on August 8, 2012


Additionally, I'd recommend she apply for intermittent FMLA leave due to her husband's serious health condition. That way, any absences she incurs to care for him due to his health condition would be job-protected leave (assuming FMLA is approved).
posted by pecanpies at 5:48 AM on August 8, 2012


Your niece should discuss this ASAP with her employer. It's entirely possible that her employer will be more than accomodating in this regard. It's better to make an appointment with an HR person, after one has discussed with one's manager.

This will work well when the employee has a good relationship with her manager.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:53 AM on August 8, 2012


Thanks for the advice.
One note, when I referred to the "garage sale, arranging the move, etc." that means trying to get those things done (not easy tasks) while managing two onsite adults with dementia at the same time.
posted by Tullyogallaghan at 7:59 AM on August 8, 2012


Has she looked into respite care? There may be a community center or an elder care center where she can take the folks while she sorts out the house and garage sale.

Also, there are folks you can hire to help with packing, setting up the garage sale, and donating to Goodwill. College Hunks Moving might be a good choice for your niece.

If money isn't a factor (and even if it is) I think that outsourcing things like this can help with the stress. Paying other people to do things is a right and a priviliage.

Another thing you might want to do is to contact an Estate Sale Company.

Your niece may be overwhelmed, but she doesn't have to do this alone. Nor does she have to physically do this herself. When under stress, we can't see the forest for the trees.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:43 AM on August 8, 2012


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