Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), whether an employee is required to specify the expected duration of leave on a FMLA application depends on whether the leave is categorized as foreseeable or unforeseeable leave. If the FMLA application is for foreseeable leave, the FMLA regulations require that the employee specify the expected duration of the leave on the application. To the contrary, FMLA applications for unforeseeable leave do not require employees to tell employers how much leave they need—if they are unsure of the expected duration. Instead, the FMLA regulations instruct employees to comply with the employer’s policies. For example, employers may implement policies that require updated estimates about how long leave will last. But what happens when an employee cannot provide an expected duration for the unforeseeable leave and the employer wants to replace the employee?

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