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FMLA & Family Care Act (FCA)
Leave Request Processing Overview

This page provides general information about how leave requests that may be covered by the FMLA or FCA are processed.

Individual web pages provide specific leave processing instructions for leave requests made for the following reasons:

  1. Personal health condition, including health care provider appointments because of pregnancy or pregnancy related temporary disability.
  2. To care for a family member with a serious health condition.
  3. Leave related to a family member's military duty because the employee's family member is a covered servicemember who has been called to active duty, or requires care due to illness or injury.
  4. Parental leave to bond with a new child. Parental leave does not include any period of pregnancy related maternal disability.

Evaluating and Responding to Leave Requests

According to the law, employees are not required to specifically state that a leave request is made under either the FCA or FMLA. The employer is responsible for determining whether an employee's time off work is covered by the FCA or FMLA, and for processing the leave request accordingly. This involves the following steps:

  1. Determining whether the reason for the leave request is covered by the FMLA or FCL.
  2. Determining whether certification of the reason for the leave will be required.
  3. Determining the type and amount of paid and unpaid leave the employee may be eligible to use.
  4. Providing a timely response to the leave request.
  5. For leave that is covered by the FMLA, notifying the employee that the leave is being so designated and deducting time off work from the employee's remaining FMLA leave entitlement.
  6. Designating FMLA or FCA covered leave on the employee's leave records.


If an employee requests time off that may be covered by the FMLA and you have reason to believe that the employee does not intend to return to UW employment, contact your Human Resources Consultant.

Departmental Leave Request Process

Consider creating a departmental leave request process that makes it easy for employees to tell you when a leave request may be for an FMLA or FCA covered reason. One way to do this is by using two different leave request forms as described below, and by establishing departmental leave request process that tells employees when and how the leave request forms are to be used.

Two forms are available to assist departments that choose to adopt this method. Each form is provided as a PDF file for use as is, and as a MS Word file you can customize to meet unit specific needs.

Human Resources Consultants are available to advise units on developing leave administration practices and procedures.

Medical Information Confidentiality

Medical information is confidential and employees are not required to disclose the nature of their own medical condition or a family member's medical condition to their supervisor. Even if an employee has voluntarily disclosed some information about a medical condition, you should not request additional information without reviewing the matter with your unit's Human Resources Consultant (HRC).

Under the FMLA and the FCA, an employer may obtain health care provider certification of an employee's need for leave. The process for obtaining such certification is described under each category of leave request processing instructions.

Get Help

Leave requests taken under the FMLA and FCA can be complex and may also involve issues related to disability leave, disability accommodation, and shared leave. If you do not have experience with such requests, consider reviewing them with your unit's HRC.


Resources for Employees

Human Resources has developed resources under the Life Events heading to help employees plan for leave that may be covered by the FMLA or the FCA. Review these resources so that you can help your employees and effectively manage leave administration.