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.

Plenty of organizations offer flexible schedules, allow telework and let parents slip out early once in a while to catch a child’s soccer game. But in many workplaces, those benefits are perks that only managers and white-collar workers enjoy. Yet several studies show that when low-wage employees have some flexibility in their hours, teamwork improves and unscheduled absences abate. If your organization’s lower-wage employees are candidates for flex, consider these eight strategies.

Q. We recently heard from a co-worker that an employee (“Mike”) seemed to be having some health issues. Mike hasn’t said anything to his supervisor or anyone else as far as we know. What can we say?

If you grant time off to employees who aren’t yet eligible for FMLA leave, take note: If they’re on your payroll, their time off counts toward FMLA eligibility. That means that once they hit the one-year mark, they become entitled to those 12 unpaid FMLA weeks—and terminating them could launch an FMLA lawsuit. That wasn’t always the case ...

It happens more often than you might think. An HR office begins receiving an unusual number of FMLA certifications from the same doctor. The sudden deluge happens during peak production times and/or when employees are required to work mandatory overtime. It all points to what amounts to a scam.

The ADA requires employers to try to find reasonable accommodations so disabled employees can perform the essential functions of their jobs. It’s up to employers to determine which functions are essential. Courts rarely second-guess employers that follow a few simple rules when a disabled employee challenges the employer’s list of essential functions. Here are the factors courts consider:

When employees request leave, especially for unforeseen circumstances, they don't need to assert their FMLA rights explicitly by saying, "I need FMLA leave." In fact, they don't need to mention FMLA ...
Test your knowledge of recent trends in employment law, comp & benefits and other HR issues with our monthly mini-quiz ...

Unplanned absences can disrupt even the best-run workplaces. Of course, you don’t want truly sick employees to come to work if they have some contagious illness. Nor do you want to discourage employees from taking legitimate FMLA leave. Your challenge as an employer: Craft and enforce an attendance policy that allows or even encourages legitimate sick leave use while discouraging abuse.

Q. An employee’s girlfriend is pregnant and having some complications. He has asked for time off to care for her until the baby is born. What are his rights?

Employers know they may have to accommodate disabled employees by granting additional time off. But what about employees who, although they aren’t disabled, still claim run-of-the-mill illnesses prevent them from working? You can and should set strict standards for further leave.