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Make sure employee is clear about your system for running and counting FMLA leave

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Employers are free to run FMLA leave concurrently with other paid leave. Just make sure you tell employees exactly how you are accounting for their FMLA leave.

Recent case: Anthony worked for Drexel University and was eligible for intermittent FMLA leave for a chronic condition. When Anthony called in sick, the university either coded the absence as vacation, sick, other paid leave or FMLA leave, depending on whether Anthony elected to use available paid leave.

Anthony missed a few more days of work after exhausting all available time off, but the university didn’t count it against him because it hadn’t yet told him he was out of leave. However, it terminated him on the next absence.

He sued, alleging that because no one explicitly told him until after the fact that he was out of leave or that paid leave counted against his unpaid FMLA leave, he should not have lost his job.

The court disagreed. It pointed out that the university didn’t penalize Anthony for missed days until after it told him he had exhausted all leave. Therefore, Anthony hadn’t been harmed by the delay. The mere fact the university informed him late didn’t mean it violated Anthony’s FMLA rights. (Szostek v. Drexel, No. 12-2921, ED PA, 2013)

Final note: Stay on top of FMLA leave and make sure the employee does, too. Had the university offered more information, this lawsuit might have been avoided.

Online resource: Read our free white paper “The FMLA Calendar: 4 Methods to Counting an FMLA Year.”

 

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