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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Employees who take protected FMLA leave are entitled to reinstatement to the same or a substantially similar job once cleared for work after their leave is over. Reducing the employee’s hours on return could be seen as interference with FMLA rights.
If, after FMLA leave, an employee asks for more time off or to work from home, handle the request just like you would another disabled employee’s reasonable accommodation request. Verify the disability and discuss possible accommodations before you reject the request. Otherwise, a jury may hold you liable.
Unexpected absences can cause scheduling headaches. However, since FMLA leave is an entitlement, there isn’t much employers can do—at least when the call-offs are legitimate. But not every absence is legit.
Q. An employee who is off on an approved FMLA leave just submitted her resignation, providing two weeks’ notice. Our employee handbook asks employees to provide a two-week notice when possible. May we terminate the employee’s employment immediately rather than wait two weeks?
Q. Do we have to let an employee leave the United States to visit his home country while on family medical leave? Are there restrictions? — Terry, New Jersey
Train all supervisors about the FMLA. Instruct them to refer any perceived problems to HR. Direct supervisors should not, for example, conduct their own “investigations” into whether an employee is abusing intermittent FMLA leave by conducting surveillance or taking other intrusive steps. Doing so may net a lawsuit alleging interference with FMLA rights.
Q. Before we could counsel an employee about ongoing attendance problems, she was approved for intermittent FMLA to care for her mother. However, she continues to have attendance problems unrelated to her FMLA leave. Can we proceed with counseling and possible disciplinary actions while she is under FMLA?
Employees on FMLA don’t earn protection against legitimate discipline for reasons unrelated to FMLA leave.
The FMLA is supposed to protect employees from losing their jobs when they can’t work due to a serious health condition. Minor maladies such as colds, headaches and body aches usually aren’t enough to merit protected leave. That’s true even if the employee goes to a doctor and gets a prescription, unless the health care provider also tells the worker to return within 30 days for a follow up or otherwise actively monitors the illness.
You risk a lawsuit if you don’t advise employees of their FMLA rights. Employees are entitled to individual notice so they can make informed decisions about when to return to work.