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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When it comes to reductions in force, employees on FMLA leave don’t have greater rights than those who haven’t taken FMLA leave. That means if an employer can show it would have chosen the FMLA leave-taker for termination even if she had been at work, there’s no FMLA violation. But employers that are sloppy about the RIF process may end up in court.

If you immediately fire employees who have used up their FMLA leave—without considering whether they may be disabled and need reasonable ADA accommodations—you may be making a big mistake. Instead, let the employee know you want to begin the interactive accommodations process right before FMLA leave runs out.

HR pros spend a lot of their time ensuring that their companies comply with the law so they don’t wind up in court and lose big bucks to a jury verdict. But more and more, they find themselves defending not their employers’ bottom lines, but their own bank accounts. Here's how to protect your personal funds.

Many part-time employees don’t qualify for FMLA leave because they haven’t worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave. But now some hourly employees and their attorneys are trying a new approach, claiming employers failed to count so-called off-the-clock work toward FMLA eligibility. It's a wake up call: You must track every hour your employee works.

Q. An employee told her supervisor that she needed surgery. We approved time off under the FMLA with the understanding that she would provide certification after the leave began. We later discovered that this “necessary” procedure was liposuction. Can we revoke approval of medical leave under the FMLA and convert sick hours she used to vacation hours instead? Can we fire her based on inappropriate use of the FMLA?

Employees covered by the FMLA are entitled to return to their jobs after taking up to 12 weeks off to deal with a serious health condition. But sometimes employees aren’t fully recovered when their leave runs out. Then they often ask for some form of accommodation that will let them perform the essential functions of their jobs. Employers don’t have to reinstate such employees under the FMLA.

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.

Smart employers make sure that no employee is ever punished for taking FMLA leave. They do that by carefully cataloging when every employee takes FMLA leave. And if they must discipline an employee for attendance problems, they spell out the reason why each absence counted toward punishment.

Some employees assume that they will always get their jobs back after taking FMLA leave. Usually that’s true, but not always. Take, for example, a case in which an employer needs to lay off workers. An employee’s FMLA status doesn’t necessarily protect her job in such a situation.

The FMLA gives eligible em­­ployees an absolute right to take leave and prohibits employers from discouraging employees from taking that leave. Anything that dissuades employees from using FMLA leave is grounds for litigation.
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