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.
Employees out on FMLA leave are supposed to be freed of their regular work responsibilities. They are on leave, after all. Some supervisors have taken this to mean that they may never call an employee who is out on FMLA leave to discuss work-related matters. That’s not entirely true.
There’s no doubt that a key employee’s sudden and unexpected extended absence can disrupt business. Even so, remind supervisors to keep their gripes to themselves if it turns out that the employee is exercising her FMLA rights.
Employees who take protected FMLA leave are entitled to reinstatement to the same or a substantially similar job once cleared for work after their leave is over. Reducing the employee’s hours on return could be seen as interference with FMLA rights.
If, after FMLA leave, an employee asks for more time off or to work from home, handle the request just like you would another disabled employee’s reasonable accommodation request. Verify the disability and discuss possible accommodations before you reject the request. Otherwise, a jury may hold you liable.
Unexpected absences can cause scheduling headaches. However, since FMLA leave is an entitlement, there isn’t much employers can do—at least when the call-offs are legitimate. But not every absence is legit.
Q. An employee who is off on an approved FMLA leave just submitted her resignation, providing two weeks’ notice. Our employee handbook asks employees to provide a two-week notice when possible. May we terminate the employee’s employment immediately rather than wait two weeks?
Q. Do we have to let an employee leave the United States to visit his home country while on family medical leave? Are there restrictions? — Terry, New Jersey
Train all supervisors about the FMLA. Instruct them to refer any perceived problems to HR. Direct supervisors should not, for example, conduct their own “investigations” into whether an employee is abusing intermittent FMLA leave by conducting surveillance or taking other intrusive steps. Doing so may net a lawsuit alleging interference with FMLA rights.
Q. Before we could counsel an employee about ongoing attendance problems, she was approved for intermittent FMLA to care for her mother. However, she continues to have attendance problems unrelated to her FMLA leave. Can we proceed with counseling and possible disciplinary actions while she is under FMLA?
Employees on FMLA don’t earn protection against legitimate discipline for reasons unrelated to FMLA leave.