How far do we have to go to provide work when an employee returns from FMLA leave? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

How far do we have to go to provide work when an employee returns from FMLA leave?

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Q. I am the owner of a security services company. One of my rank-and-file employees is currently on leave from work under the FMLA. Due to an economic downturn, I have been forced to reduce the number of shifts available to my employees. If there is no longer a shift available for this employee when he returns from FMLA leave, am I be required to find or create a shift for him?

A. According to guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, under the provisions of the FMLA an employee on FMLA leave is not protected from actions that would have affected him or her if he or she had never taken FMLA leave.

For example, if a shift has been eliminated or overtime decreased, an employee would not be entitled to return to work that shift or the original overtime hours. If an employee is laid off during the period of FMLA leave, the employer must be able to show that the employee would not have been employed at the time of reinstatement.

It is important to provide documentation that other employment actions (such as discharge or reduction of hours) would have affected the employee had he or she not been on FMLA leave, as it is illegal to discriminate against employees for taking FMLA leave.

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