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 with chronic medical conditions that flare up unpredictably may be entitled to FMLA leave. But that can create scheduling nightmares for employers. And intermittent leave, by its nature, is subject to abuse. After all, an employee on intermittent leave can simply call in and explain his condition is acting up. But that doesn’t mean employers are powerless when they suspect abuse.

Everyone knows employees can use FMLA to care for minor children who have serious health conditions. But what about adult children who need a parent's care? It's a difficult issue that straddles the complex intersection of the FMLA and the ADA, plus definitions of "disability" and "care."

HR Law 101: Your employee handbook should include statements on these topics: a welcoming letter from the CEO, rules and procedures, your employment policies, compensation and benefits, safety and health rules, an affirmative action statement and an acknowledgment receipt form ...

If an employee asks you to ap­­prove an especially long vacation, and you suspect the reason may be a covered condition under the FMLA, beware automatically rejecting the request. You may risk an FMLA in­ter­ference lawsuit. Plus, any subsequent discipline could be considered retaliation.
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. How big is the risk? Try six figures—or more.
Now is the time to review your return-to-work policies and practices for employees on leave. They need to be integrated without regard to the reason that prompted leave. Treating workers differently depending on the reason for their absence opens the possibility of a disability discrimination claim.

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.

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.

Q. We recently learned that an employee on FMLA leave is working for another company. Can we fire him?
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