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.

What should you do if you learn that an employee who is out on FMLA leave will not be able to return when her 12 weeks of unpaid leave are up? If you are absolutely sure that she can’t claim she is disabled under the ADA, you can terminate her. But you still must continue providing any benefits she was receiving while on FMLA leave, such as medical premium payments.

Employees are eligible for FMLA benefits if they have worked for their employer for a total of one year and at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months. The criteria don’t stop there. Employers must comply with the FMLA if they employ 50 or more workers within 75 miles of the employee’s workplace. But what if some of those employees work out of their homes?

Q. An employee just asked for a week off to attend jury duty. Do I have to grant the request for leave? If I do, can I require the employee to use accrued vacation time during the jury duty leave?

Q. Our company is considering replacing sick leave and vacation benefits with a paid time off (PTO) program. How are these plans treated upon the termination or resignation of an employee?

Q. We are a small business, with only 12 full-time employees and a smattering of on-again, off-again part-timers. When an employee leaves, do we have to provide a COBRA notice?

Sometimes, employees think they’re sick enough to qualify for FMLA leave, but their doctors don’t. Other times, medical staff filling out the medical forms makes mistakes. Either way, if you get a certification or doctor’s note explaining that the employee can work, you are under no obligation to get more information. Instead, you can rely on that “negative” FMLA certification and deny leave.

In Pennsylvania, employers that make a promise that an employee reasonably relies on may be liable if that promise isn’t fulfilled and the employee suffers harm as a result. This quasi-contract theory has FMLA implications ...

Employers ask for trouble when they ask workers to violate doctor’s orders. Train supervisors to honor medical restrictions. It will help the company in workers’ comp cases as well as ADA and FMLA situations. The following case illustrates the perils of playing fast and loose with physician certifications recommending light duty.

Q. If a company tracks employees’ vacation, sick and personal time off, can we make deductions from accumulated time for everyone who takes time off, including salaried employees? I’m talking about deducting it from the accrual, not the pay. I’ve heard that I can’t deduct vacation, sick leave or personal time if the salaried employee worked at least four hours during that day.

Employers have to let their employees know about the FMLA so they can take advantage of the leave guaranteed by the law. But if an employee doesn’t take advantage of his FMLA rights, the employer can’t be held liable for not providing leave even if it turns out the employee was eligible.