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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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.

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. 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?

Barely two months into the 2009-2010 session, the North Carolina General Assembly has already introduced a profusion of employment-related bills. Employers should keep a watchful eye on several bills that already appear to have strong support this new legislative year.

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.

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.

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.

In his 25 years on the Minneapolis Fire Department, Thomas Davison fought a series of debilitating health conditions along with the fires he helped put out. He also had to fight the department to obtain health benefits.

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?

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?