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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Q. We have an employee returning from FMLA leave. His physician has issued a fitness-for-duty certificate. However, we have doubts about the worker’s ability to perform his job because he wasn’t off work very long ... Can we send him to another physician for a second fitness-for-duty examination?
Q. How does the recent amendment to the Illinois Family Military Leave Act affect employers?
Some workers decide to provide notice that they’ll need FMLA leave long before they’re even eligible for coverage. When you get such a request, don’t reject it out-of-hand.

Especially in a lousy economy, fired employees will look for a reason to sue. You must be able to defend every discharge against possible discrimination and retaliation claims. The only safe approach is to document that you treated every employee equally. You simply can’t cut slack for one employee and not another.

When employees are fired for absenteeism, they may be quick to point to unequal treatment, saying other workers kept their jobs but were absent more often. One way to avoid such claims is to install a point system to punish absenteeism, terminating employees who accumulate too many points.

The March of Dimes devotes itself to promoting healthy babies—in the community and among its own employees. To that end, working moms can take 26 weeks off—six with full pay—with a guarantee that their jobs will be waiting for them when they return. They also get another week of paid sick leave. The organization also doubled its paternity benefit last year.

Sometimes, a new supervisor takes the opportunity to settle old scores with former co-workers. And that can create liability for the employer. So before the promotion kicks in, teach your newly minted managers that federal laws prohibit supervisors from retaliating against workers for everything from taking FMLA leave to filing a workers’ comp claim.
We’ve all tussled with sending employees to fitness-for-duty exams when returning from an injury or illness. When are they the right decision? When do they create liability? As this case shows, it’s best to let the doctor make the right call …
Does your call-in policy demand that employees contact their supervisor daily when they’re out sick? If so, can you still require that of employees who are out on FMLA leave? Here’s what a ruling said last week …

Terminating someone who is pregnant or who just gave birth can be dangerous. If you must fire her, make sure you can provide clear and consistent reasons. Tell supervisors they should never make comments that sound as if the real reason is pregnancy.

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