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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Under the FMLA regulations, if an employee is incapacitated, someone else can notify the employer, whose FMLA obligations are then triggered. But that doesn’t mean that a co-worker merely telling a supervisor that the employee is “sick” works as notification. Employers are entitled to better notice than that.

Q. The minor child of one of our employees has a disability. She was approved to be his personal care attendant and requested FMLA leave to see if she would like to do this as a job going forward ... I know FMLA is available to care for a child, but can she use FMLA as a way of trying out a new job?
The U.S. Department of Labor has issued final regulations expanding the FMLA’s caregiver and military exigency leave provisions to include more employees and cover veterans. The new regs formalize amendments included in 2010 defense spending legislation.
Here’s a problem that’s quite common for employers with several work sites spread far apart and one common HR department. Many employees may be eligible for FMLA leave, but some may not be if they work at a location with fewer than 50 employees that’s located within 75 miles of the main office.
Don’t let an angry manager turn routine FMLA leave into expensive and time-consuming litigation. Make sure all supervisors understand their FMLA obligations—and that they have no choice but to cheerfully allow em­­ployees to exercise their rights.

Some managers and supervisors just can’t seem to resist offering “helpful” career advice to subordinates. That’s especially true for workers they may see as less devoted to their work than old-school employees. But a remark concerning absences covered by the FMLA may well be viewed as interference with a protected right.

Some federal labor laws provide extra incentive for managers to understand how to administer them. The FMLA is one of those laws. It provides for individual liability for those who are responsible for approving FMLA leave and ensuring the employer follows the law on leave and reinstatement.
A federal trial court has reaffirmed that employers have the right to expect employees to be truthful. It said it’s fine to punish an employee who was reasonably suspected of dishonesty—even if it turns out the employer was wrong.

Generally, simply calling in sick doesn’t trigger an employer’s obligations to offer FMLA leave. But what if the employee was very specific about his medical condition when he first called in and clearly was eligible for FMLA leave for that first absence? Does he have to be equally specific later?

When a good employee with no disciplinary record suddenly turns into a bad employee following FMLA leave, watch out. You may have on your hands a bitter supervisor who wants to punish the employee for disrupting workflow, creating scheduling hassles and otherwise making life more difficult. Before approving discipline or a poor evaluation, look deeper.