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.

It is remarkable that a seemingly simple, one-page form—the Form I-9—can cause so many headaches. But who ever said a government form was easy, much less an immigration-related form. Here are the most common mistakes employers make.

Employees sometimes think taking FMLA leave—or even just asking for the time off—protects them from being disciplined or discharged. But Congress never intended the FMLA to act as a shield against legitimate discipline that’s unrelated to the leave. That’s why you’re free to discipline or discharge employees if you can prove you would have taken the same action regardless of the FMLA leave or request.

Because employment laws and your business are in a constant state of flux, it’s critical to keep your personnel policies up-to-date. As spring approaches, one item on every HR professional’s spring cleaning list should be a review of the organization’s employee handbook. In light of recent legal changes, be sure your policies include these updates:

Some comments simply aren’t appropriate in the workplace—especially when the person weighing in is a supervisor or manager. Most bosses understand they can’t use ethnic or racial slurs, but many don’t understand that the same common sense applies to discussing family planning.

The new FMLA regulations say employers can enforce their usual call-in rules, such as requiring employees to call in before missing a shift. That rule change made employers rejoice, assuming they could safely discharge employees who didn’t show up and didn’t call in. But a new case calls that assumption into question.

Could an oversized waistline put your future career at risk? Career columnist Anita Bruzzese says, “If you’re carrying too much weight—enough to be considered overweight or obese—then you’re a concern to employers.”

You probably don’t check up on most employees who call in sick because they do it infrequently and most likely are being truthful. However, every organization has its share of workers who abuse sick-leave policies. No state or federal laws regulate how employers can handle workers who call in sick. But beware: Going too far to ferret out shirkers could invite discrimination and harassment claims, and unnecessarily damage morale.

Because FMLA leave is an entitlement, employers aren’t allowed to interfere with it. And interference can include requiring employees to perform work during their leave. That’s why it’s important to make arrangements for work to be completed without help from the employee on leave.

Some employers foolishly worry that they may violate the ADA or the FMLA if they enforce a zero-tolerance policy that forbids employees to work under the influence of alcohol. The simple reality is that employers have every right to expect workers to show up sober in the morning. Furthermore, being an alcoholic is no excuse.

Without you realizing it, low morale can creep into your organization. Check every day to make sure people stay in tune. Here are 10 sour notes to listen for: