top of page
Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) is a United States Federal Law requiring larger employers to provide employees job-protected unpaid leave due to a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform his or her job, or to care for a new child or sick family member.


Absences Covered


For an absence to be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the employee must have been employed by the Postal Service for an accumulated total of 12 months [in the previous seven years] and must have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours during the 12-month period before the start of the leave.


Absences that qualify as FMLA leave may be charged as annual leave, sick leave, continuation of pay, leave without pay, or a combination of these. Leave is charged consistent with current leave policies and applicable collective bargaining agreements.


Eligible employees must be allowed a total of up to 12 workweeks of leave within a Postal Service leave year for the following reasons:


·         For incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or childbirth.  

·         To care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoption of foster care.  

·         To care for the employee’s spouse, son or daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition.

·         For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her position.

·         For qualifying exigencies arising out of a covered family member’s active duty or call to active duty in the National Guard or Reserves in support of a contingency operation.


Eligible employees must also be allowed a total of up to 26 workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember who has a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty.


Department of Labor Publication 1420, “Your Rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993,” must be posted in every workplace.  Employee may also access this DOL website FMLA link for information on covered and allowed absences:


·         Reason for taking leave

·         Advance notice and medical certification

·         Job benefits and protection

·         Unlawful acts by employers, and

·         Enforcement




Leave must be requested on a PS Form 3971, Request for or Notification of Absence, together with documentation supporting the request, at least 30 days before the absence if the need for the leave is foreseeable.  If 30 days notice is not practicable, or where the need for leave is not foreseeable, the employee must give notice as soon as practicable.  Ordinarily, this means that notification of the absence should be relayed to the employee’s supervisor before the start of his or her tour. The employee will receive, or be mailed, a WH-381, Notice of Eligibility and Rights and Responsibilities, which details the specific rights and responsibilities and the consequences of the failure to meet those responsibilities.


Additional Information


Information regarding the FMLA may be obtained by contacting the HRSSC at 877-477-3273, Option 5, then Select 6. Forms for completion by your health care provider, and as indicated by your request for FMLA leave, will be mailed directly to your address of record.  The primary forms are:



·         DOL WH-380E, Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition

·         DOL WH-380F, Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition


Additionally, to request leave for qualifying exigencies and servicemember care, the following forms may be used:


·         DOL WH-384, Certification of Qualifying Exigency for Military Family Leave

·         DOL WH-385, Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of Covered Servicemember for Military Family Leave

bottom of page