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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If your employee handbook hasn’t been updated in the past six months, it’s out of date. Because employment laws and your business are in a constant state of flux, it’s critical to keep your personnel policies up-to-date. In light of recent legal changes, be sure your policies include these updates:

When asked to provide FMLA certification of their serious health condition from a health care provider, some employees may realize they can’t. One answer? Fake it. What’s an employer to do? There are several approaches you can take.

Because absenteeism typically comes under the "minor problem" category, the first step is a precounseling session between the individual and his supervisor. In this session the supervisor determines if the employee understands the company's policy on absences. The positive discipline approach then consists of the following stages:

Sure, a birthday party may lift your spirits. But Congress probably didn’t have party attendance in mind as “covered treatment” when it gave employees the right to take FMLA medical leave. Still, should you instantly fire a worker for attending a party while on FMLA leave?
Employees with a serious health condition are entitled to take intermittent FMLA leave when their conditions flare up. And disabled employees are entitled to reasonable accommodations for their disabilities. That can include time off. Employers must therefore consider granting intermittent FMLA leave among the possible ADA reasonable accommodations when an employee has a serious health condition that is also a disability.
Don’t make a common, but potentially expensive mistake. You can terminate an employee who isn’t ready to return to work when he has used up his FMLA leave without violating the FMLA. However, you may be violating the ADA by doing so.
Q. One of my employees recently informed me that she needs to take time off to seek psychiatric treatment. I realize that this employee may be disabled under the ADA, but could she also be considered to be suffering from a serious health condition under the FMLA?
Sometimes, employees develop medical problems and use up their available leave under the FMLA or other leave programs before they get a definitive diagnosis. Think about offering them additional time off.

When employees lose their jobs, they often look for a reason to sue. One common tactic is to argue that a layoff was used as an excuse to get rid of “unproductive” employees, especially those who take advantage of their right to FMLA leave. That’s why HR must develop a performance-appraisal system that documents that having taken FMLA leave wasn’t a factor when you evaluated employees’ work.

Don’t write off a lawsuit just because a former employee misses state discrimination agency and EEOC deadlines to file a complaint. If the employee has an FMLA-related claim, she has up to three years to file a federal lawsuit. And she doesn’t have to file anything with the EEOC or a New York state or local discrimination agency.

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