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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The FMLA grants time off for em­­ployees with serious health conditions, but they must let employers know they need leave. Simply requesting light-duty work isn’t enough.
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.
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?
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.