As long as you are able to return to work before you exhaust your FMLA leave, you must be returned to the same job (or one nearly identical to it). If you do not return to work before FMLA leave expires you could lose your job protection under FMLA, even if your employer extends your leave.
A recent court case reiterated this rule. In Wevodau v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Mr. Wevodau lost his right to return to his job because he returned to work after his FMLA leave expired. Mr. Wevodau claimed that his job should be protected because his employer extended his FMLA leave. Although seemingly unfair, the court found in favor of the Commonwealth and cited several cases with the same ruling; even if the employer extends an employee’s leave beyond twelve weeks, the employee’s job restoration protections are not extended. Wevodau lost his FMLA protections when he did not return to work after his original twelve-week leave period expired.
3 Must-Know Tips for Employees on FMLA Leave
Confirm with your employer that your leave is FMLA leave. When you request FMLA leave, your employer should respond in writing within five days. The response should include specific information, including the date your leave expires.
Ask to extend leave when necessary. If you ask for less than the maximum leave time and it becomes apparent that you need more time, promptly request for time from your employer. Don’t wait until after your return date arrives to ask for more time.
Promptly return to work before your leave expires.
Employees with any questions concerning their FMLA should contact Fiffik Law Group, P.C. for advice specific to their situation.