HR Operations

Supervisor FMLA responsibilities

Last updated: September 22, 2023

This page applies to all staff, academic personnel, and student employees.

Your managerial 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 absent
  • Ensuring that the employee’s FMLA usage in Workday is accurately recorded

Contact your HR 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 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. Directing the employee to request a leave of absence in Workday will also ensure the employee receives the FMLA notice of their rights and responsibilities.

Assessing and responding to employee leave requests

Campus: Campus HR Operations will approve the leave as FMLA in Workday when it receives a completed health-care provider certification form supporting your employee’s FMLA leave request or deny the request if the employee is not FMLA eligible. Both you and your employee will receive a communication explaining the approval or denial.

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

Medical centers: Your HR leave specialist will inform your department when it receives a completed health-care provider certification form supporting your employee’s request for time off or a leave of absence.

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

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

Intermittent absences

Your HR leave specialist will inform you of the timing and frequency of intermittent absences as estimated 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 HR 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 cannot give advance notice for intermittent time off, you may not deny the leave.

Ensure that your department is accurately recording the employee’s intermittent FMLA usage in Workday

The HR Partner role applies tracking time offs in Workday to designate absences which count toward an employee’s FMLA entitlement. HR Partners also return the employee from leave in Workday. Managers should ensure that their HR Partners have the information they need to accurately record employee leave.

A special note regarding overtime-exempt staff:

A FMLA-related partial-day absence must be recorded as FMLA-covered, with either a type of accrued paid time off or unpaid time off designated.


Holidays that occur during weeks where the employee is on FMLA leave the entire work week should be designated as part of the total time on FMLA-covered leave.

Shared leave

Let employees know about the Shared Leave Program if they have depleted or will shortly deplete paid time off 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 of absence or asks for workplace modification(s) 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 or leave specialist (Medical Centers).