Legal Blog

Virginia Employers: Employers and Family Medical Leave – Key Tips for Compliance

The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) places affirmative obligations on private employers with more than 50 employees and public employers of all sizes. Keep the following tips in mind when addressing employees’ absences when related to personal or family-related illness:

  • Requests for leave related to personal or family-related illness must be given prompt attention. Failure to address a request or discipline an employee for a covered illness can increase liability.
  • The process for applying for FMLA should be clearly detailed in a policy available to all staff and employees. The policy should cover what issues are covered by FMLA and how to receive approval.
  • Not every illness qualifies for FMLA. The birth of a child, illness of a spouse or other family member, or personal illness may qualify – if the illness is serious in nature. This is a case by case analysis that requires careful vetting and support by medical documentation. Utilize the documentation provided by the Department of Labor as a guide/form when asking employees for documentation.
  • Employees out for more than the provided 12 weeks can be given an extension (although it is not required). The policy and process for requesting extensions should be detailed.
  • Many state governments and the District of Columbia require that employers provide additional leave/rights to employees in addition to those provided by FMLA. Double check your state’s laws to ensure compliance.

Have questions on how to approach a leave policy or question?
Contact Theodora Stringham at or 703-745-1849.



Theodora Stringham assists individuals, businesses, and organizations with growing successfully while minimizing liability. Focusing on real estate and personnel needs, Ms. Stringham executes sustainable plans for real estate development and employee matters. She provides comprehensive representation for everyday growth issues, including, but not limited to, re-zonings, site plan approvals, eminent domain/valuation concerns, employment discrimination, and disciplinary issues. Ms. Stringham’s scope of representation ranges from identifying potential liability and providing counseling/trainings, all the way through representation at trial.






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