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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Employers are often confused about how much absenteeism they must allow for employees who haven’t worked long enough to be covered by the FMLA, and who aren’t otherwise entitled to miss work as a reasonable accommodation for a disability. The bottom line is that if you treat everyone equally, you can set high attendance expectations—and fire those who don’t meet them.

In recent years, employees have begun filing more and more “caregiver” or “family responsibility” discrimination lawsuits. No federal or Minnesota law specifically addresses discrimination against caregivers. However, treating employees with caregiving responsibilities differently than other employees may violate various employment laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the ADA, the FMLA and the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

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.

You’ve documented the poor performance. You’ve been careful to keep things professional, even as you’ve concluded you’ll probably have to fire the employee. Then he files a discrimination complaint. Avoid the temptation to speed up the usual disciplinary process.

Employers have every right to terminate employees who can’t come to work on time—but not for taking FMLA leave.
Frequently, absenteeism problems arise because a company has no clear policy on the issue. A company policy statement should be distributed to all employees, indicating when and under what conditions an employee will be paid (or not paid) for absences.

Most bosses understand they can’t use ethnic or racial slurs, but many don’t understand that the same common sense applies to discussing topics such as family planning. What sorts of comments are off limits? Just about anything that could make an employee think a supervisor might count it against her if she used FMLA leave.

Q. One of our employees works different hours each week—sometimes 30 hours a week, sometimes 40. She will be going on FMLA leave soon. We’re not sure how to determine how many hours of leave she would be entitled to take under the FMLA. Are all employees permitted to take 480 hours of leave?
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