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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With divided government in Congress, gridlock reigns for most employment-law bills. One bill that has a slim chance: the Parental Bereavement Act, which would amend the FMLA to allow employees to take FMLA leave after the death of a child.

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 don’t get greater protection from layoffs than employees who don’t take leave. As long as you can show that you would have eliminated a job even if the employee had not taken FMLA leave, the termination is fine.

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?
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