HR Operations

Supervisor FMLA responsibilities

Your supervisory responsibilities with FMLA include:

  • Understanding and complying with FMLA, related state laws, and UW leave policies
  • Recognizing when an employee’s absence may fall under FMLA
  • Assessing and responding to employee leave requests
  • Planning for coverage of the employee’s job duties while the employee is out on leave
  • Capturing FMLA usage through your department’s leave tracking system

Contact your leave specialist if you have any questions about your responsibilities or about FMLA in general.

Complying with the law

Be sure that you have read this website’s entire FMLA section to help you understand this leave topic.

Additionally, it is important to know that it is unlawful to:

  • Interfere with, restrain, or deny an employee’s FMLA rights
  • Retaliate against an employee who exercises their FMLA rights

Recognizing FMLA

As a supervisor, you need to be attentive to whether an employee’s absence may be related to FMLA. Employees don’t always know about or understand FMLA protection, so don’t rely on them to request it by name.

Sometimes an employee will tell you directly that they need time off for medical treatment or other FMLA reason. Sometimes you learn indirectly, such as through an extended absence or repeated requests for leave.

If FMLA may apply to the employee’s situation, the Department of Labor requires you to inform your employee about FMLA. Please provide your employee with a copy of the FMLA Information Summary (PDF), which UWHR developed for this purpose.

Assessing and responding to employee leave requests

Follow your department’s usual leave request procedure when an employee submits a request for a leave of absence.


Campus HR will inform your department when it receives a completed health-care provider certification form supporting your employee’s FMLA leave request. At this point, your department must notify the employee whether the request has been designated as FMLA. You can do this with the following two letters, which contain all of the elements required by federal law.

FMLA (campus) Notice (MS Word) (required)

FMLA (campus) Notice Cover Letter (MS Word) (optional)

Some departments have established their own FMLA process. Check with your department to see if they have a departmental version of these letters; if not, you should use these.

Contact your leave specialist if you have any questions regarding the use of these letters.

Medical centers

Your leave specialist will inform your department when it receives a completed health-care provider certification form supporting your employee’s FMLA leave request.

Then after reviewing the leave request, the leave specialist will notify the employee of the request’s status and provide you with a copy of that notice.

Contact your leave specialist if you have any questions regarding these communications.

Intermittent leave

Your leave specialist will inform you of the timing and frequency of intermittent absences as expected by the employee’s health-care provider. If the employee’s actual absences do not match what the health-care provider anticipated, speak with your leave specialist.

Work with the employee to schedule their planned FMLA-related absences (such as for treatment or appointments) ahead of time when possible. This can make staffing and timekeeping easier. However, if the employee can’t give advance notice for intermittent leave, you may not deny the leave.

A special note regarding overtime-exempt staff:

A FMLA-related partial-day absence must be recorded as FMLA, with either a type of accrued paid leave or leave without pay designated.


Holidays that occur during a continuous FMLA leave should be designated as part of the total time on FMLA-covered leave.

Shared leave

Point the employee toward the Shared Leave Program if they are expected to run out of accrued leave before their need for leave is over. The eligibility requirements for this program are different than FMLA eligibility; however, if their situation qualifies, the program can help reduce the financial stress of their own or their family member’s severe health condition.

Disability leave or accommodation

If an employee is unable to return to full duty at the end of their leave or asks for workplace modification other than leave, either you or the employee should contact your department’s HR consultant or leave specialist to discuss disability leave or accommodation.

If the employee has requested workplace accommodation in addition to leave, speak with your HR consultant and leave specialist.