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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Employees who take FMLA leave are usually eligible for reinstatement, but not always. If you were going to eliminate the position anyway, the employee may be out of luck. Before you deny reinstatement, be sure you can clearly show that the position was cut for reasons completely unrelated to the employee’s FMLA leave.

If there’s no use-it-or-lose-it policy in place, employees can easily stockpile weeks of vacation or personal leave. Should they become ill, they may try to use that time as a substitute for FMLA leave. If an employee asks you to approve an especially long vacation, and you suspect the underlying reason may be a covered condition under the FMLA, beware automatically rejecting the request.

According to the EEOC, leave may be a reasonable accommodation. If you fire disabled employees without at least considering time off as an accommodation, you might be sued.

Think you can split your business into separate entities to avoid being covered by some laws like the FMLA—and maybe limit the amount employees can collect if they sue under Title VII? Think again. That won’t work if the entities retain a centralized management structure.

Courts are suspicious when em­ployees who have recently returned from FMLA leave are suddenly fired. Yet, chances are you will at some point have to terminate an employee following FMLA leave. Just make sure you can explain why, backed up by solid and contemporaneous documentation.
Some employees—seeing their FMLA eligibility on the horizon—may ask for FMLA leave before they’ve actually hit the one-year and 1,250-hour eligibility milestones. That’s OK. Remember, employers can’t deny an employee’s FMLA re­­quest simply because it was made before the employee became eligible.

To be eligible for FMLA leave, employees have to show more than that they suffer from a serious health condition. They must also show that they can’t perform at least one essen­tial job function because they have that condition or are undergoing treatment for it. For employers, that means it’s necessary to compare the employee’s certification and his job description.

More than half of all employees have taken on new roles during the eco­nomic downturn, according to a recent Spherion Staffing survey. That’s “job creep,” and it’s a big problem. Job creep has important employment law implications and it also means many of your job ­descriptions are probably outdated.

The beginning of the school year finds many anxious parents needing to take some time off from work to deal with school issues. But the FMLA doesn’t cover employees who take time off for school visits or to care for kids who aren’t seriously ill but who must stay home from school. Follow our link to find out what state laws may apply instead.

With tornados, floods and fires topping the news in recent months, a question arises: What’s an employer’s obligation to give FMLA leave when the disaster affects employees or their families?
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