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How do we prevent ‘stacking’ of FMLA, sick leave?

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Q. We have an employee who wants to take a chunk of paid time off. She is eligible for FMLA leave. We want to start deducting the time off from her 12-week entitlement. Usually we require employees to provide a medical certification. But in this case, we are more interested in making sure she doesn’t take unpaid FMLA leave later after her paid leave bank is exhausted. Can we just do this? — S.F., California

A. Employers can require their employees to have paid leave run concurrently with FMLA leave. The FMLA regulations state that an employer may require an employee to substitute accrued paid leave for unpaid FMLA leave. The term “substitute” means that the employee’s paid leave will run concurrently with the unpaid FMLA leave.

It’s also important that the employer administer its FMLA policy consistently and make sure all employees follow the same procedures. Therefore, you should require the em­­ployee to provide a medical certification in this case. To avoid this situation in the future, revise your FMLA policy to state clearly that accrued but unused paid time off may run concurrently with FMLA leave.

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