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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Except in the case of leave to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness, U.S. Department of Labor regulations say an eligible employee’s FMLA leave entitlement is limited to a total of 12 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period for any one, or more, of the following reasons.
Employers can require a fitness-to-return-to-work exam when employees have been out on FMLA leave for their own serious health condition. If the worker’s doctor clears the employee—even with minor restrictions—you should allow him to return while you get necessary medical clarification.
In several recent lawsuits, courts have ruled that parental leave policies thought to generously provide time off for new mothers were actually discriminatory—against new fathers.
Now is a good time to remind supervisors that making negative comments about FMLA usage can end in litigation. That’s because telling employees that taking time off makes it hard for co-workers who have to pick up the slack can chill further use of FMLA leave, discouraging employees from using time off they are legally entitled to.

Minnesota employers have to walk through a minefield in order to terminate someone. Consider, for example, what might happen if the newly discharged employee asks for a written explanation of her termination. Offer one that’s less than honest, and you may be violating Minnesota’s Section 181.933.

Q. An employee’s daughter has diabetes and the employee has intermittent leave to provide assistance and care for her. The employee is now using FMLA leave to attend her daughter’s field hockey games and practices, claiming she needs to be there in case of diabetic complications during athletic events. The health care certification that we received in connection with this FMLA leave request does refer to a need to provide care during “flare ups.” Do we have to continue to permit the mother to attend the games and practices as intermittent FMLA leave?

Employees who take FMLA leave are entitled to the same or an equivalent job when they return. That means that the job must be virtually identical in all aspects, including pay. If you change the pay, the reason is irrelevant—it’s an FMLA violation.

Employers aren’t allowed to pester employees to work during FMLA leave. Requiring the employee to work from home to complete assignments, for example, may amount to interference with the right to take FMLA leave. But not every contact or request is enough to support a lawsuit.
When an employer has an office with fewer than 50 employees within 75 miles of that location, those workers aren’t covered by the FMLA. Make sure you don’t inadvertently give them the impression that they are.

FMLA leave is an entitlement and interfering with that leave or punishing a leave taker will backfire. It may even mean personal liability for a manager who decides to punish an employee with an adverse action like termination or demotion.

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