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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Employees whose disabilities require reasonable accommodations in the form of breaks or a modified schedule don’t get to save their FMLA leave for later use. Employers are free to subtract the time off from any FMLA hours available.
Q. One of our employees got the flu while she was out on vacation leave. Now she wants her vacation time back and wants to call those “sick days” instead. Do we have to let her change the status of this leave time?

To be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee “must have been employed for at least 1,250 hours of service” with his or her employer during the 12 months prior to the commencement of the FMLA leave. That seems simple enough. But in the world of FMLA administration, nothing is as simple as it seems.

In each monthly issue, our HR Specialist: Compensation & Benefits newsletter reports on creative employee benefit and compensation programs being offered by U.S. employers. Those are published in the What’s Working column of each issue. Here’s a sampling of recent articles:

A good sick leave policy includes rules governing how employees are supposed to let their employers know that they’re ill. Employees generally have to follow those rules or face discipline. But there are circumstances under which employees may be excused from following the rules. One of those exceptions: when the employer has direct notice that the employee is ill and may need FMLA leave.

Q. Can we refuse to hire a qualified applicant who has told us her National Guard duty conflicts with some of the weekends she would be required to work? Employees in this job bid for rotating scheduled weekends under a union contract seniority system. The applicant’s schedule for Guard duty is not flexible.
Q. A staffing agency has informed my company that a temporary worker who was previously assigned to us is returning from a leave under the FMLA. What are our obligations to this individual?
As the name clearly implies, the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) makes it illegal to discriminate against women who are pregnant. But it doesn’t mean pregnant employees are entitled to special privileges. In fact, the PDA merely makes clear that employers must treat pregnant employees the same way they treat every other employee.

Some employees may want to save up their FMLA leave for an anticipated event like a birth or upcoming surgery. Even if they’re eligible for intermittent FMLA leave, they may request that they not be docked for the time off. If you agree not to charge the time off against FMLA leave, make sure you document the request. Then feel free to treat the absences as you would any other absence under your attendance policy.

Q. Can we terminate an employee who has exhausted his FMLA leave but needs additional time off to care for his serious health condition? Or must we provide additional leave?