Q. One of our employees had been out sick for two months. We’ve received a doctor’s note that just says he’s unable to work and that a return date is undetermined. We faxed and mailed , but it hasn’t been returned. Meanwhile, the employee is receiving disability benefits through our short-term disability plan. How do we calculate the start of ? From the date the disability payment began? And if we never get the paperwork back, can we terminate him? —T.B., Tennessee
A. Whether an employee is eligible for FMLA leave and whether he or she is entitled to short-term disability benefits are two separate issues. If you have an employee who has—for several months—essentially refused to provide you with information sufficient to establish that he suffers from a serious health condition or is otherwise qualified for FMLA leave, you can and should terminate this employee. In this instance, the receipt of disability insurance benefits is irrelevant.
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