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.

Terminating a pregnant employee because she has minor medical restrictions can be very expensive. The move may mean you have to make the employee financially whole—plus pay a large punitive damage award and attorneys’ fees. Here’s the best way to handle temporary medical restrictions associated with pregnancy:

Congress is considering legislation that would require employers with 15 or more workers to provide seven days of paid sick leave per employee per year, an expansion of the FMLA that a coalition of HR and business groups immediately decried.

If an employee is taking FMLA leave to care for a newborn or to adopt a child, you can require the person to take any planned FMLA leave in one session. FMLA intermittent leave is not guaranteed for birth and adoption the way it is for other serious conditions that require periodic care.

Legislation introduced in Congress on May 19 would require employers with 15 or more workers to provide at least seven days of paid sick leave per employee per year.

Q. We have an employee in her third week of maternity-related FMLA leave who comes to work to check her e-mails, make some work calls, etc. How should we handle this? Could there be liability issues because there’s no doctor’s release yet?

The FMLA now requires employers to give employees serving in the military (or who are next of kin to service members) up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave under specific conditions. While few employers begrudge military families such leave, unforeseen leave can pose scheduling problems as employers come into the summer vacation season.

Pregnant employees of Southfield, Mich.-based accounting firm Plante & Moran count on support from co-workers who’ve been there. HR pairs expectant moms with those who’ve recently had babies so they can ask questions and get support. The buddies also help new moms make a successful transition back to work.

One of the biggest problems with the FMLA has always been the certification process. Until recently, employers weren’t allowed to call a health care provider whose form looked suspicious or whose diagnosis sounded suspect. Now, fortunately, employers can at least call the medical provider to ask whether the information on the form is accurate and get clarification on any unclear parts.

Employees who take leave because of a disability may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation when they return to work. But, as an employer, you have the right to decline an employee’s return if you genuinely believe she won’t be able to perform her job. But if the employee proposes undergoing a medical or psychological exam to prove she is fit to return, cooperate.

Q. Is an employer required to keep a job open for an employee who is out on an indefinite leave due to a workers’ compensation injury? Does the employee have an automatic right to get put back into the same job he was doing right before he was injured?