As her company grew, so did the burdens on Megan’s HR department. And since she WAS the HR department, that meant more paperwork, more hassles, and more stress.
But just when she thought things couldn’t get any harder, they did – BIG TIME …
“Where did we go right?!?”
Megan Parsons was one of the first employees at Best Foot Forward, an athletic shoe manufacturer. At first, her duties included stacking boxes, answering phones, and lacing sneakers. The only time she thought about “HR” was when she saw it in the baseball box scores in the newspaper.
But then, Best Foot Forward grew. And grew some more. Before she knew it, Megan was managing a busy office, which had her setting up employee health plans … network-linking their new satellite locations … and tracking vacation time. When callers would ask to speak to the HR department, she’d say, “You’re talkin’ to her!”
As the company added new employees and new locations, things got more and more complex. And it was then that Megan heard what she started calling “the four-letter word”: FMLA.
“Six months ago, if you’d asked me what FMLA was, I’d have said it was a food additive,” Megan told me over a recent (hurried) lunch. “But now, it’s ‘FMLA this,’ ‘FMLA that.’ And I keep getting calls from attorneys, which means I’m spending time and money on OUR attorney. I’m starting to think that FMLA stands for Fill My Lawyer’s Accounts.”
“I mean, look at this stuff,” she moaned, pulling a sheaf of papers out of her briefcase. “Linda’s driving me nuts with one-hour requests for time off. Bill is claiming a ‘serious medical condition,’ and the guy bench-presses 450. Tammy is claiming she should get her attendance bonus – even though she was out three weeks taking care of her dad!”
“Sounds rough,” I agreed.
“It is,” Megan said. "And that’s not the half of it! The people taking FMLA leave are killing our productivity. And the people who AREN’T are ticked off at the people who are. They feel like half the staff comes and goes as it pleases.
“All these new responsibilities to deal with! It’s like FMLA means Five Million Little Assignments. I thought the company growing would be a good thing – but they haven’t grown the HR department!
“I mean, where did we go right?”
Megan talked to me because I’m her friend, but also because she knows I work for the National Institute of Business Management. She had participated in a webinar we’d done on the FMLA a few years ago, but hadn’t kept up on the changes in the law.
I smiled, then pulled out my BlackBerry. After a few seconds, her Trio started buzzing. She looked at it, and saw an untitled e-mail from me. “What did you just do?” she asked me.
“What did I do? I simply Forwarded Megan Life-changing Answers. I sent you a copy of our FMLA Compliance Guide.”
Ease your FMLA burden by learning what’s required – and what’s not
Complex new regulations make complying with the Family and Medical Leave Act harder than ever before. Are you exposing your company to a potential lawsuit? To find out, take this quick FMLA Compliance Self-Audit:
True or False?
All the statements in the self-audit are undeniably true.
Compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act is indeed costly and confusing. What’s more, the politicians in Washington claim that the FMLA is really simple and straightforward for employers to understand.
It may sound simple to them.
But 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for “serious health conditions” can be very complicated in the real world. Every day, employers across the country deal with real-world situations and questions such as:
• In an emergency, can an employee claim FMLA without informing someone at work?
• Do I have to count temporary and part-time employees toward the 50-employee minimum?
• What if my company downsizes during an employee’s FMLA leave? Will I still owe her a job?
• Does treatment for substance abuse qualify an employee for FMLA leave?
• Can I require an employee to return to work early if I offer a “light-duty” assignment?
Fortunately, the trusted experts at the National Institute of Business Management have recently published the FMLA Compliance Guide. It’s guaranteed to give you concrete answers to your most perplexing FMLA questions.
Thanks to the Compliance Guide, you don’t have to let the FMLA disrupt your business. Take control with the quick and easy advice in this practical resource. You’ll learn what steps to take in hundreds of real-world situations, and how the new revisions to the law affect employers.
The Compliance Guide will help you discover the seven issues you must cover – in writing – with an employee requesting FMLA leave, whether you can legally fire someone who is on FMLA leave, and an amazingly simple strategy that prevents employees from taking 24 weeks of back-to-back leave. The FMLA Compliance Guide is guaranteed to give you concrete answers to your most perplexing FMLA questions.
Here are just some of the things you’ll learn in the FMLA Compliance Guide:
Table of Contents
Continuation of Benefits
‘Serious Health Condition’
Reinstating a Worker
FMLA Forms: Online Resources
10 Compliance Tips
1. The ‘New’ FMLA Regulations
1. ‘12-Month’ Eligibility Requirement
2. Timing of Doctor Visits
3. Work-Related Bonuses
4. Notice Requirements
5. Employer Obligations
6. Employee Obligations
7. Medical Certification
8. Settlement of FMLA Claims
9. Active-Duty Leave: Military Families
10. Caregiver Leave: Military Families
2. Determining Coverage and Eligibility
3. Critical Questions on Employee Coverage
4. Military Family Leave
5. Frequently Asked Questions
6. Recent Court Rulings
The FMLA Compliance Guide is written by Matthew S. Effland, a shareholder with the prestigious nationwide law firm of Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak and Stewart, P.C. He is often called in on complex areas of employment law, including FMLA compliance, and he is a regular speaker at the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual conference. Mr. Effland also presents the popular FMLA webinar series for the National Institute of Business Management.
I saw Megan yesterday, picking up her boys from soccer practice. “Well,” I asked her. “How are things going? Was the FMLA Compliance Guide helpful?”
“Are you kidding?" she said. “It was a godsend! This is the first time I’ve seen my kids in the daylight in about a month. That one little book has probably saved us thousands in legal fees, as well as the leave we’ve been granting 'just to be safe' – but now I know we don’t have to.”
“I’m glad it helped. Did you also sign up for the free HR Weekly e-letter I told you about?”
“Sure did," Megan siad. “What can I say, Pat? Between the Compliance Guide, that webinar, and the HR Weekly, you’ve Fixed My Life Again!”
P.S. Your satisfaction is unconditionally guaranteed. If the FMLA Compliance Guide isn’t everything I (and Megan) have said it is, and more, return it for a full, 100% refund. Unlike the FMLA, there are no questions asked, no hassles, and absolutely no red tape!
P.P.S. You CAN manage intermittent leave ... understand what constitutes a “serious health condition” ... and make sure you're not granting leave when you don't have to. Take control of the FMLA – get your copy of the FMLA Compliance Guide now!