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.

Q. We have an employee returning from a leave taken under the FMLA. His physician has issued a fitness-for-duty certificate. However, we question the worker’s ability to perform his old job because the length of his absence was too short for him to recover completely. Also, the fitness-for-duty certificate simply states that he is “able” to work, without addressing his specific job duties. Can we send him to another physician for a second fitness-for-duty examination?

Routine doctors’ appointments such as checkups or annual physicals aren’t considered eligible for FMLA leave, but appointments aimed at diagnosing a condition may be. Employers that know the employee is seeing a specialist as part of the followup to an auto accident, for example, are on notice that the employee may need to take FMLA leave ...

What happens if an employer discourages an employee from taking FMLA leave and instead offers more than 12 weeks off with full pay? Can the employee still sue for interference with his right to FMLA leave if he isn't reinstated to his prior position or an equivalent? The apparent answer is "yes."

Q. I have an employee who is taking leave under the FMLA. The company is continuing to pay the same portion of her health insurance premiums that we paid while she was working. If the worker fails to return to work when her protected leave expires, may the company recover the premium payments made during her leave period?

Q. Flu season is coming and we are concerned. If employees have the flu or show flu symptoms, can we require them to stay home long enough to make sure they are no longer contagious? Would we have to pay them for time away?

It’s a good idea to keep careful track of the reasons why employees take FMLA leave—especially if an employee takes leave on different occasions for different reasons.

Employers can’t punish or otherwise hold it against employees for taking FMLA leave—that’s interfering with FMLA rights, and it’s illegal. That’s why it’s important to exclude FMLA leave when making any disciplinary decisions based on employee absences.

Test your knowledge of recent trends in employment law, comp & benefits and other HR issues with our monthly mini-quiz ...

If you know an employee is suffering from depression, don’t be so quick to accept his or her hasty resignation, a new court ruling shows. Instead, you may need to identify this person as “disabled” under the ADA and, therefore, engage in an interactive process to find a work accommodation.

Q. Our company offers a health insurance opt-out incentive, paying employees $400 a month if they use their spouses’ insurance plans. We now have an employee going out on FMLA maternity leave. Do we have to keep paying her $400 per month?