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Know which leave counts toward FMLA

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Q.  I told an employee who takes lots of intermittent FMLA leave that all of her time out of the office (no matter what it was for) would count against her FMLA time. My VP called me in and told me I was wrong and that was absolutely NOT the law. What is the best way to track her intermittent leave? Do I ask for documentation each time? —J.S., Texas  

A. Your VP is right! It's true that many employees abuse intermittent FMLA leave. But you should never count time off as FMLA qualifying unless you have a legitimate reason. When an employee presents a certification form indicating that she must "self-treat" whenever her condition flares up, you can't require additional documentation for each absence.

However, if an employee's intermittent FMLA leave begins to show a problematic pattern (such as regularly leaving early on Fridays or coming in late on Mondays) or if there are other facts indicating fraud or abuse, you can and should request additional documentation.

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