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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Under limited circumstances, employees who aren’t actually eligible for FMLA leave may become eligible if their employers tell them they are. That’s why you should tell employees that you won’t have a definitive answer about whether they can take FMLA leave until you have checked on their eligibility.

Even though the economic climate remains tenuous, most employers will continue to offer the same number of paid holidays to employees in 2011 as in past years, says a new Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey. Here is the breakdown of each holiday ...

While employee handbooks are not required by law, they can prove essential — especially for small business owners that can't afford to lose a harassment or discrimination lawsuit. The employee handbook has become an essential tool in the employer’s arsenal to defend against liability for employment decisions.

Some employees don’t like being told they have to put in OT, especially if they have medical conditions that make it difficult to work extended hours. However, you are within your rights to insist on overtime. Employees with a serious health condition that precludes working extra hours may have to go on intermittent FMLA leave.
Q. On the U.S. Department of Labor’s Form WH-381 “Employer’s Response to Employee,” there is a line that asks whether the worker is a “key employee” as described in the FMLA regulations. I always check the box indicating that the worker is a key employee. How should I mark these boxes? I consider most of our workers key employees, and I do not want to offend anyone by suggesting that they are not.

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.

Some employers cut more slack than the FMLA requires when employees fail to give timely notice that they want to take FMLA leave. The company typically might send an employee a letter informing her that, since she didn’t show up for her last scheduled shift or offered an explanation, she has five days to return or explain why she can’t work. If the reason is one covered by the FMLA, she may already have lost the right to claim FMLA leave.
Employers sometimes mistakenly focus only on the FMLA provision that defines a serious health condition as one that incapacitates an employee for three calendar days or more. Don’t focus solely on illnesses of three days’ duration. If the employee has a brief flare-up of an underlying condition that has been treated in the past, he may be eligible for FMLA leave.

Federal courts often use the well-known McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting test to determine whether an employer has unlawfully discriminated against an employee. Now the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that when it considers an Illinois workers’ compensation retaliation claim, it must apply an Illinois state law rule that is more demanding for employees than the McDonnell Douglas test.

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.