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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.

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Under the FMLA, employers with 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the company’s work site are required to provide FMLA leave to their employees. But even if you're a small employer, innocent mistakes could make the “50/75 rule” meaningless to you — and force you to provide FMLA leave. Learn how to avoid that trap.

It’s time to answer some of the trickier questions about the interaction of the FMLA, the New York Paid Family Leave Law and the state’s Disability Benefits Law.
Be sure to document the reason why you treat some employees differently than others. For example, if employees can’t take leave until they have completed a probationary period, clearly explain that in your handbook.
In an important case that could carve out new rights for new mothers, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that employees returning to work after giving birth may be entitled to light-duty work to accommodate the need to express breast milk for their babies.
Even if you think you have a rock-solid reason to fire someone, don’t count on it as an airtight defense against every lawsuit. Your rationale might, for example, be an excellent defense against an age discrimination claim, but not against an FMLA claim.
If an employee says she is going to need FMLA leave as soon as she becomes eligible, terminating her may amount to interference with the right to take FMLA leave. That’s true even though she wasn’t eligible for leave when she was fired.
An employee who believes she has been fired for discriminatory reasons has the right to sue her employer as soon as she receives a termination notice. That’s true even if the termination isn’t yet effective.
Many employers have maternity leave policies that provide a period of paid time off following birth or adoption. That’s fine. But if you intend for paid maternity leave to run concurrently with federal FMLA leave, be sure you spell that out.
Sometimes, a boss can cause big legal trouble without even saying a word. A sigh or negative look can be enough if the worker on the receiving end perceives the behavior as disapproval.
The FMLA doesn’t cover minor illnesses, and employers are free to punish employees who miss work because of them. However, employers do have an obligation to investigate further if the employee reports she received medical treatment and followed call-off rules.
Typically, courts look at whether an employee has used FMLA leave in the past when considering whether his employer interfered with his FMLA rights more recently.
Employees who qualify for FMLA leave can’t be punished for taking it. Any action that could be seen as dissuading workers from exercising their right to take FMLA leave amounts to interfering with a federal right.
When HR professionals are surveyed, they routinely rate the FMLA and the ADA as the two most difficult laws to deal with. Here’s a look at 10 of the most challenging FMLA and ADA issues HR struggles to handle.
Employees who want to take FMLA leave must let their employers know. They don’t have to specifically ask for FMLA leave, but they do have to provide enough information for the employer to understand that the worker or a family member suffers from a serious health condition. Merely describing a chaotic life full of difficult events isn’t enough.
Make sure all supervisors understand that they must never criticize employees for taking FMLA leave. For employees who need to care for their own serious health condition or that of a close relative, FMLA leave is a right, not a privilege.
You may have to promote someone from within to do the work of the employee who has taken FMLA leave. But what about the employee who took FMLA leave? Isn’t he entitled to return to his old job? Not necessarily, as long as you can place him in an “equivalent” job with the same benefits and pay.
What happens if the employer fails to notify the employee? She may win an FMLA interference lawsuit if she can prove that, had she known, she would have returned to work and could have performed her job.
Ordinarily, an employee taking FMLA leave is entitled to return to the same job or one that’s substantially equivalent. But what if the employee’s job changed while the employee was out on FMLA leave?
If a supervisor has previously made snide remarks about an employee’s use of FMLA leave, make sure he isn’t involved in any subsequent disciplinary action against the employee.
If you make an employment offer to a worker from a temp agency after observing her work for a few months, be sure to count the earlier time towards FMLA eligibility.
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