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.

Question: “I am a single mother raising two toddlers by myself. This is held against me at work, because no one else has this problem. My co-workers are all happily married or have grown children.  With no family available to help, I often have to take time off for medical appointments, illnesses and other child care issues. My boss says if this continues, he may have to find someone else for my position. I feel desperate because I love my job. How can I make these people understand?” —  Worried Mother

If your organization uses independent contractors, watch out: Starting in February, the IRS will begin intensive audits of 6,000 randomly selected employers. One of the key targets: Determining whether employers are improperly misclassifying workers as independent contractors to save on taxes and legal risks.

It seems logical—employees who can’t come to work won’t be able to perform the essential functions of their jobs. It may be possible to accommodate some disabled employees by letting them work from home, but that’s not true of most jobs.

Many employers believe that if an employee needs accommodations for a disability that’s related to the same serious health condition covered by the FMLA, they don’t have to provide any additional leave once the employee has used 12 weeks of FMLA leave. That’s not always true. In fact, additional unpaid leave after FMLA leave has been exhausted may be a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.

Employees who quit aren’t generally entitled to unemployment compensation. However, there’s an exception for employees who quit “because of a good reason caused by the employer”—if the employees first give employers a chance to correct the problem. One reason that’s not good enough: a schedule change.

You know that you can run into trouble if you treat someone as disabled when they are not. But you’re not in violation of the “perceiving as disabled” provisions of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) every time you notice an employee has a physical problem.

Q. I run a small company with fewer than 50 employees.  I was recently approached by a male employee requesting “paternity leave.”  Must I provide him paid or unpaid leave upon the birth of his newborn child?

Employees often claim their jobs stress them out. And for some, it’s so bad they feel they need to take off work for a week or so to cope. That doesn’t mean, however, that they’re automatically entitled to use FMLA leave.

When an employee is out on FMLA leave, employers have to be careful about balancing their need for full staffing so they can get the work done and the worker’s right to take leave. If missed work poses a problem, the best approach is to focus on specific work deficiencies that aren’t related to FMLA-protected absences.

Q. An employee took FMLA leave Sept. 1 because of job stress. In October, she had an operation for carpal tunnel syndrome. Workers’ comp ruled that her absence was work-related and it dated her workers’ comp claim back to Sept. 3. So, they’re now saying that her FMLA leave won’t start until she is officially released from workers’ comp. Do we need to keep a job open indefinitely for her?