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 have to give 30 days’ notice before taking FMLA leave. That means some employees may ask for FMLA leave before they are actually eligible. For example, an employee may request time off for a serious health condition when he still has a few hours more to work before hitting the one-year or 1,250-hour milestone. Employers can’t deny the request merely because it was made before the employee became eligible.

Q. One of our employees has a recurring illness that flares up every so often. By taking a few weeks off here and there, he has used all of his paid time off (PTO) and exhausted his FMLA leave. If he has another flare-up, do we have to permit him to take time off even though it would be more than the FMLA requires or our policies allow?

Employees who take FMLA leave to deal with their own serious health condition are entitled to reinstatement to their jobs or substantially identical ones when they return. But what if the employee isn’t ready to come back after 12 weeks? In that case, employers don’t have to reinstate the employee—at least not under the FMLA.

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 Job creep has important employment law implications and it also means many of your job ­descriptions are probably outdated.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?
A DOL ruling last year that clarified the definition of “son or daughter” under the FMLA opens up the potential for employees to take leave to care for siblings or other family and nonfamily members. If the employee is serving in the parental role for a sick child, he or she may be eligible.
Q. Our company has 250 employees in eight states, but we have FMLA eligible employees in only one state. As I rewrite our employee handbook, I will include the mandatory FMLA language. However, I would like some input on what type of policy, if any, to include for non-FMLA eligible employees.
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