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.
Now is the time to review your return-to-work policies and practices for employees on leave. They need to be integrated without regard to the reason that prompted leave. Treating workers differently depending on the reason for their absence opens the possibility of a disability discrimination claim.
According to the EEOC, leave may be a reasonable accommodation. If you fire disabled employees without at least considering time off as an accommodation, you might be sued.
Think you can split your business into separate entities to avoid being covered by some laws like the FMLA—and maybe limit the amount employees can collect if they sue under Title VII? Think again. That won’t work if the entities retain a centralized management structure.
Courts are suspicious when employees who have recently returned from FMLA leave are suddenly fired. Yet, chances are you will at some point have to terminate an employee following FMLA leave. Just make sure you can explain why, backed up by solid and contemporaneous documentation.
Employees who take FMLA leave don’t get greater protection from layoffs than employees who don’t take leave. As long as you can show that you would have eliminated a job even if the employee had not taken FMLA leave, the termination is fine.
Employees have to give 30 days’ notice before taking FMLA leave. That means some employees may ask for FMLA leave before they are actually eligible. For example, an employee may request time off for a serious health condition when he still has a few hours more to work before hitting the one-year or 1,250-hour milestone. Employers can’t deny the request merely because it was made before the employee became eligible.
Q. One of our employees has a recurring illness that flares up every so often. By taking a few weeks off here and there, he has used all of his paid time off (PTO) and exhausted his FMLA leave. If he has another flare-up, do we have to permit him to take time off even though it would be more than the FMLA requires or our policies allow?
Employees who take FMLA leave to deal with their own serious health condition are entitled to reinstatement to their jobs or substantially identical ones when they return. But what if the employee isn’t ready to come back after 12 weeks? In that case, employers don’t have to reinstate the employee—at least not under the FMLA.
Employees who take FMLA leave are usually eligible for reinstatement, but not always. If you were going to eliminate the position anyway, the employee may be out of luck. Before you deny reinstatement, be sure you can clearly show that the position was cut for reasons completely unrelated to the employee’s FMLA leave.
If there’s no use-it-or-lose-it policy in place, employees can easily stockpile weeks of vacation or personal leave. Should they become ill, they may try to use that time as a substitute for FMLA leave. If an employee asks you to approve an especially long vacation, and you suspect the underlying reason may be a covered condition under the FMLA, beware automatically rejecting the request.
Q. We recently learned that an employee on FMLA leave is working for another company. Can we fire him?
The FMLA grants time off for employees with serious health conditions, but they must let employers know they need leave. Simply requesting light-duty work isn’t enough.
Some employees—seeing their FMLA eligibility on the horizon—may ask for FMLA leave before they’ve actually hit the one-year and 1,250-hour eligibility milestones. That’s OK. Remember, employers can’t deny an employee’s FMLA request simply because it was made before the employee became eligible.
To be eligible for FMLA leave, employees have to show more than that they suffer from a serious health condition. They must also show that they can’t perform at least one essential job function because they have that condition or are undergoing treatment for it. For employers, that means it’s necessary to compare the employee’s certification and his job description.
More than half of all employees have taken on new roles during the economic downturn, according to a recent Spherion Staffing survey. That’s “job creep,” and it’s a big problem. Job creep has important employment law implications and it also means many of your job descriptions are probably outdated.
The beginning of the school year finds many anxious parents needing to take some time off from work to deal with school issues. But the FMLA doesn’t cover employees who take time off for school visits or to care for kids who aren’t seriously ill but who must stay home from school. Follow our link to find out what state laws may apply instead.
With tornados, floods and fires topping the news in recent months, a question arises: What’s an employer’s obligation to give FMLA leave when the disaster affects employees or their families?
A DOL ruling last year that clarified the definition of “son or daughter” under the FMLA opens up the potential for employees to take leave to care for siblings or other family and nonfamily members. If the employee is serving in the parental role for a sick child, he or she may be eligible.
Q. Our company has 250 employees in eight states, but we have FMLA eligible employees in only one state. As I rewrite our employee handbook, I will include the mandatory FMLA language. However, I would like some input on what type of policy, if any, to include for non-FMLA eligible employees.
Employers sometimes think they can replace key employees who take FMLA leave. Not true. They must show that reinstating the employee would have caused substantial and grievous economic injury to the company.