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Can we prohibit employee from using accrued leave to care for her husband?

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Office Management,Payroll Management

Q. An employee took time off to be with her husband who had a heart attack. We only have 30 employees. Management was very upset and wouldn’t let her take any paid time off and wouldn’t guarantee her position. She had accumulated several weeks of sick and vacation time. Can the company keep her from taking paid time off to care for her husband?

A. Because you have fewer than 50 employees, the employee is not entitled to leave under the FMLA, in which case she could have opted to use paid leave.

Whether she is able to use paid time off depends on what your policies provide. Do employees need management approval to take time off? Are employees restricted to taking a certain number of paid days at a time? Also, how has management responded to other employees who have requested leave?

She should be treated consistently. You should also be aware that, if her husband has a disability, the company cannot discriminate against her based on her “association” with a disabled person. That means you should not treat her differently than other employees who have requested paid time off for a comparable period of time.

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