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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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Q. We have an employee who will soon go on temporary military duty and be gone for several weeks. Do we have to pay him at all during his absence, or does he receive military pay?

Employees have learned to play the FMLA game quite well in the 17 years since the law was passed. In this new case, an “attendance-challenged” employee was denied extra vacation leave for her wedding. So she submitted an FMLA leave request for those same dates. Hmmmm … smell fishy?

The costs of employee absenteeism—reflected in lost production, overtime and temporary replacements for the absent worker—can add up quickly. What’s the best way to combat the problem? With a clear policy, careful documentation, consistent application of the policy and progressive discipline.

It’s true that the ADA and FMLA require you to accommodate employees with medical ailments—even employees recovering from alcoholism. But take note: You certainly can enforce a zero-tolerance policy that forbids employees to work while under the influence of alcohol. Employers have every right to expect workers to show up sober in the morning. Being an alcoholic is no excuse.

Here’s a reminder that HR needs to do everything in its power to get FMLA decisions right: If you turn down an FMLA request and then punish the employee for missing work, she could sue, claiming she was retaliated against for requesting FMLA leave in the first place. Reversing the original FMLA decision won’t end the case.

The Toledo City Council voted to pay $450,000 to settle a race discrimination and wrongful-termination lawsuit brought by two former city employees. That makes for a happy ending to a two-year legal odyssey for Office of Affirmative Action Director Perlean Griffin, and executive director of the city’s Youth Commission Dwayne Moorehead, who served under former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.

The California Supreme Court has ruled that employers that don’t have a formal sick-leave accrual policy don’t have to pay employees for leave they take to care for a family member. So-called “kin-care” benefits apply only if employees earn sick leave over the course of their employment.

If you have hiring and firing responsibilities, you may worry from time to time whether you could be held personally liable for your decisions. Now a Texas appeals court has answered that question—at least in situations involving the firing of someone who refuses to engage in an act she believes is illegal. The court said there is no personal liability.

Whenever you hire someone, check your records of past employees. If your new employee is a rehire and last worked for you within seven years, be ready to credit that service if FMLA eligibility ever becomes an issue. If you don’t do that, and wind up denying FMLA leave to an eligible employee, you may have to pay double damages.

Q. We have an employee who will soon go on temporary military duty soon and be gone for several weeks. Do we have to pay him at all during his absence, or does he receive military pay?

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