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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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?
Sometimes, ­­employers must grant more time off to disabled em­­ployees if their FMLA and other leave has expired. But they don’t have to if doctors can’t estimate a return-to-work date.
The Pennsylvania State University Medical Center is being sued by a cancer surgeon who alleges he was fired in retaliation for defending the FMLA rights of his secretary—who was fighting cancer.
Don’t try to “create” artificial overtime for a disabled em­­ployee so she’ll be forced to use up her FMLA entitlement. That’s especially true if no one else is required to actually work overtime. Such a tactic will backfire.
Responding to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision overturning a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the DOL has affirmed that employees with same-sex spouses have the same FMLA rights as other married employees—as long as they live in a state that has legalized same-sex marriage or recognizes such marriages performed in other states.
Employees who take protected FMLA leave are supposed to return to the same or an equivalent position in terms of pay, duties and benefits. But what if the employee doesn’t want the same job for some reason? Must you create a new job for her? No.
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