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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 deciding whether a person has a health condition that qualifies for FMLA leave, employers sometimes mistakenly focus only on the provision that defines “serious condition” as one that incapacitates an employee for three calendar days or more. They frequently overlook the part of the FMLA that adds any period of incapacity or treatment due to a chronic, serious health condition.

You expect workers to get to work on time. Sure, occasional problems with traffic or family issues sometimes make people late. But chronic tardiness is another thing altogether...
Q. One of our employees has a 16-year-old daughter who lives with her and is going to have a baby. The grandmother-to-be wants 12 weeks of FMLA leave to care for the daughter and bond with the grandchild. Is FMLA leave available for her? She says she will be co-parenting the infant. Is she basically in loco parentis to the baby and, therefore, eligible?
If you terminate an employee the day he comes back from FMLA leave, plan on getting sued. Timing alone can be enough for the court to let a jury decide the case. That’s true even if your past practices in similar cases don’t show any pattern of FMLA interference.
Employees can take job-protected FMLA leave for "serious health conditions." But take note: Cosmetic surgery only counts as a serious condition in very rare cases ...
Q. We would like to set up an employee leave-sharing program in which employees would contribute unused paid time off to a “pool” that could then be used by other employees who have run out of paid time-off hours. Are there any issues we should be aware of in setting up an arrangement like this?
Besides implied contracts, federal laws, state statutes and court decisions are chiseling away at the at-will doctrine as the number of wrongful-discharge suits spirals higher. Here’s why:
Q. An employee seeking FMLA leave presented medical certification from her doctor that stated that her medical condition didn’t prevent her from performing the essential functions of her job. A few days later, she presented a second form that stated the opposite. Can we hold her to the first certification, or do we have to accept the second form and grant FMLA leave?
Much of your work as a compensation and benefits professional involves putting out fires and dealing with day-to-day tasks. But don’t let the details get you down! Start the new year by resolving to think strategically. Use this planning guide as a road map for 2011.

If an employer wants to challenge a request for FMLA leave, it must give the employee 15 days to get a medical certification showing she has a serious health condition. Until the employer makes the request, the 15-day period doesn’t start running. Disciplining or firing the employee before the time is up will most likely be considered an FMLA violation if it turns out the employee really did have a serious health condition.

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