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Employee returning from FMLA leave? Double-check reinstatement to same duties, pay

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Employees who take FMLA leave are entitled to come back to their old jobs or an equivalent one and receive the same pay and benefits as before. That includes any supplemental duties and any extra pay associated with those duties.

Recent case: Milton Harris worked as a teacher and a basketball coach. He was paid a separate 12% supplement for his coaching duties for each full year he coached.

Harris developed prostate and heart problems, and he missed the first half of the basketball season on FMLA leave. Because the school district offered paid leave for teachers taking FMLA leave, he received his full regular pay during his absence. Due to an accounting error, he also received his coaching supplement.

When he returned, the school district reinstated Harris to his teaching and coaching positions—and then noticed the pay mistake. It cut his supplement to 6%, reasoning that he coached only half the season and therefore was entitled to only half the regular supplement. Since he had already been paid 12% during the absence, cutting him to 6% was a way to recoup the mistake.

He sued, arguing he should have received the full 12%.

The court sided with the district and noted that he had been reinstated to all his duties and responsibilities, with pay equal to what he would have received if not for the mistake. (Harris v. Nashville, No. 08-6329, 6th Cir., 2010)

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