Q. We have an employee who is going to be out eight weeks for a qualifying serious health condition. The employee isn't requesting to usebecause she has enough paid sick leave. Can employees choose not to use leave even though they meet the qualifications? And if they qualify for FMLA leave, can we make them use it whether they want to or not? -—C.T., Georgia
A. It is the employers' obligation to designate leave as FMLA-qualifying whenever they become aware of an FMLA-qualifying event. It's not up to your employees to pick and choose when they want to use FMLA time, even if they have sick time or other forms of paid leave in the bank.
You should immediately designate this employee's eight weeks as FMLA time, to run concurrently with her paid sick leave. That way, she'll only have four weeks of unpaid FMLA time remaining for the year after she uses up her paid leave. You should also check yourto make sure that it requires employees to use FMLA time concurrently with their sick time.