Words Matter in Attendance Policies

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently identified the difference between merely “requesting” Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave and “requesting and reporting” FMLA leave. At issue in the case was the employer’s policy that required an employee to request and be approved for FMLA leave and, once approved, to report an FMLA absence when the absence was taken. In particular the policy required the employee when taking an unscheduled absence, to telephone a designated call-off line, report the absence and designate whether the absence was sick time, FMLA leave, PTO leave, or some other leave.