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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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?
When an employee takes FMLA leave, she is supposed to return to her old job or an equivalent one in terms of pay, responsibilities and other benefits. Something as minor as a change in starting time can sometimes support an FMLA-interference claim.
Q. Our company has 30 full-time employees. One of our employees who is working on a key project has asked us for time off to take care of her grandfather, who has cancer, on days after he’s gone through chemotherapy. We know other family members are available to provide this care, and we are worried that it will be a hardship to have the employee away from work. Do we have to give the employee the time off?
Once in a while, it takes an em­­ployee’s long-term absence to discover that she hasn’t been doing her job very well. Remember, the FMLA doesn’t provide protection from discipline that the employee would have earned had she not taken leave.

Despite the FMLA’s protections, supervisors are free to insist on consistent attendance. They can require employees to meet job goals as long as they don’t interfere with their FMLA rights and don’t treat them differently than employees who haven’t exercised their FMLA rights. Simply put, reg­­ular attendance is a reasonable work expectation.

Q. Can we require our employees to give us notice of when they need FMLA leave? Can we require that notice in writing?
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