FMLA Guidelines

We’ll assist you in tracking and managing intermittent FMLA leave … fighting FMLA fraud and FMLA abuse … and managing FMLA in general.

Beyond mastering FMLA regulations on intermittent leave, we’ll share FMLA guidelines on how to curb FMLA abuse, and dramatically improve your overall FMLA compliance.

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Q. The daughter of one of our executive assistants was recently diagnosed with an illness that will require extensive treatment. Her boss offered her “a few extra weeks of paid vacation” to care for her daughter. He told her this before HR had an opportunity to talk to her about options for time off. We don’t think the special treatment would be received well by staff outside of the executive wing. Do we have to provide what he promised even if it’s against company policy? Is it even legal?
Not everyone has an easy pregnancy, birth and recovery. Em­­ployers that refuse to recognize this reality and don’t offer accommodations for unusual circumstances face potential liability under both the FMLA and the ADA. What’s more, HR professionals and supervisors may find themselves personally liable for mistakes they make along the way.
When employees have a serious health condition that qualifies them for FMLA leave, employers have the right to some basic information. But you have to ask for it in the right way and at the right time.
Amendments to Minnesota’s Par­­ent­­ing Leave Act took effect Aug. 1, expanding the definition of “covered family members” from just children. Now the definition includes not only minor children and those attending school (up to age 20), but also the employee’s own spouse, siblings, adult children, parents, grandparents and step-parents.
Employers with 50 or more employees within 75 miles must provide FMLA leave. If they have multiple locations, they must often provide leave to some em­­ployees but not others. If that’s your situation, beware making blanket handbook statements about FMLA leave eligibility.
Employers face several common struggles when employees take FMLA leave, but there are ways to combat FMLA abuse in the workplace.
Every year, flu season brings confusion and questions over whether the flu or a common cold can rise to the level of “serious health condition” that qualifies for FMLA leave. The regulations state, “Unless complications arise, the common cold [and] flu … do not meet the definition of a serious health condition and do not qualify for FMLA leave.”
Q. One of our employees was injured on the job and has been on leave for almost six months now. Her eligibility for FMLA leave expired a couple of months ago and we haven’t received a response to the notice we sent her stating that her time off under worker’s compensation counts against any leave she may be entitled to. Can she legally be terminated and replaced?
What if your mistaken belief that an employee has a serious health condition prompts you to grant FMLA leave? Does she have any legal basis to sue? Probably not.
Q. We have an employee who has been performing poorly and who has shown up for work appearing to be intoxicated. In a discussion with a manager, the employee admitted that he was currently using cocaine and it was affecting his personal and work life. We haven’t done a drug test on the employee, given his admission of drug use. We want to fire the employee, but we aren’t sure if the FMLA or any other law requires us to give him time off to undergo treatment?
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