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.
The FMLA was enacted to let workers briefly put their careers on hold to tend to pressing personal matters like illness, childbirth and adoption, eldercare and other covered events. It was not designed to enable them to avoid discipline. That’s why the law specifically states that employers don’t have to give returning employees benefits they would not have received if they hadn’t taken FMLA leave.
Some employers mistakenly believe that women who want to use FMLA leave when they become pregnant can’t demand intermittent leave. Managers may be confusing FMLA provisions that apply to the time leading up to the birth of a child with those that apply to the time after the child is born (or adopted).
Sometimes HR professionals go to bat for employees when they think the company may be overstepping legal boundaries or generally not doing “the right thing.” But those activities aren’t necessarily protected, meaning HR pros can’t claim retaliation if they are punished afterward.
Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave to care for a seriously ill son or daughter. That’s true for young children, of course, but also for those older than 18 who are “incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.” Don’t split hairs on this.
It’s expensive to cover an absent employee’s health insurance premiums when he is on FMLA leave—especially if he has family coverage. However, the law requires employers to do so. What happens if the employee doesn’t return? In some cases, employers can demand reimbursement for the premiums it paid. That’s true except if the employee doesn’t come back because he or she is still sick or has to continue to care for a sick relative.
Employees who want FMLA leave for their own illness need a certification from a health care provider. It should document a serious condition, briefly explaining the diagnosis and treatment. Employers that doubt the certification is accurate or want to challenge whether the condition really can seek a second opinion from another health care provider, paid for by the company.
Disabled employees or those who need FMLA leave aren’t immune from following work rules. But think carefully before you punish them. It is possible to terminate an employee who has announced he needs time off or an accommodation. However, you must have a legitimate reason—and you must be able to demonstrate that the company acted in good faith.