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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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Whether it’s intentional or not, some supervisors send unmistakable signals that their subordinates had better not take time off unless it’s absolutely necessary. That can mean trouble. Employees who are too scared to ask for leave may later turn around and sue, alleging a deliberate effort to discourage them from taking advantage of the FMLA.

Q. One of our full-time employees took time off when her husband had a heart attack. We’re a small company with 30 employees. Management was very upset and wouldn’t let her take any paid time off and wouldn’t guarantee her position. She had accumulated several weeks of paid leave. Is it legal to keep her from taking paid time off to care for her husband?

Employers and disabled employees both have an obligation to act like adults when coming up with possible reasonable accommodations. Each side has to listen to the other and consider different viewpoints and potential accommodations. Neither party should walk away in a huff. Be smart: Carefully track the accommodations process.

Q. We run FMLA and short-term disability (STD) concurrently. FMLA is for 12 weeks of job-protected leave. STD is for 26 weeks, with proper medical documentation. At what point can we terminate an employee?
It’s OK to change work rules while an employee is out on FMLA or other medical leave. It’s legal, as long as the rule applies equally to every similarly situated employee.
Some employers mistakenly believe that fathers aren’t allowed to take time off before their child is born to deal with prenatal complications.

Terminated employees sometimes have to file for bankruptcy. Sometimes they sue former employers, too. In that case, they’re required to inform the bankruptcy court about their pending lawsuit. If you lose a lawsuit, have your attorney find out whether the former employee has filed for bankruptcy. You may find that you have a “get out of jail free” card.

Employees often have legitimate reasons for accusing their employers of retaliation. But sometimes, employees themselves retaliate against a company, either out of malice, or to head off being fired. That’s one reason it pays to try to anticipate employee misfeasance and guard against sabotage.

Employees may be absent from work for extended periods of time because of illness or injury. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy recently released an online “Return to Work Toolkit” that serves as a one-stop portal to numerous free, online resources for employers and employees coping with return-to-work issues.

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.

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