What are the top 12 FMLA questions employers can ask/allowed to ask?


When employees put you on notice of the need for leave, you may ask some questions to help determine if the FMLA may be involved. While you should avoid direct medical questions, you may ask the following:

  • How long do you anticipate being out? When will your leave begin (if it hasn’t already)? 
  • Will you need time off for one block of time, or multiple periods of time off? 
  • Does the absence involve an overnight stay at a health care facility? 
  • Have you (or your family member) seen a health care provider? 
  • Are you unable to perform your job’s essential functions (if the absence is for the employee’s condition)? 
  • Is your family member unable to perform usual daily activities (if the absence is for a family member’s condition)? 
  • Are you (or your family member) under the continuing care of a health care provider? Is the absence related to a pregnancy/birth? 
  • Is the absence related to adoption or foster placement? 
  • Is the absence due to a sudden burden related to a family member’s military duty? 
  • Is the absence to care for a family member’s military duty-related injury or illness? 

These questions reflect the qualifying reasons for which an employee may take FMLA leave. You may also ask whether the employee has discussed this with any other member of management or HR. Knowing this will alert you as to when the company was put on notice of the need for leave.

This article was written by Darlene M. Clabault, SHRM-CP, PHR, CLMS, of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. The content of these news items, in whole or in part, MAY NOT be copied into any other uses without consulting the originator of the content.


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