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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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As it does every year, flu season brings confusion and questions over whether the flu or a common cold can rise to the level of “serious health condition” that qualifies for FMLA leave.
Employees who take FMLA leave are entitled to return to their old jobs or equivalent ones. But what if you learn during an employee’s time out on FMLA leave that she wasn’t everything you believed her to be?
To help you decide whether an illness or injury rises to the level of a serious condition that triggers the need for FMLA leave, you can require employees to provide FMLA medical certification. But what happens if employees use that initial FMLA certification to take intermittent leave in a suspicious pattern?
Q. One of our employees may be a victim of family violence. What are our legal obligations to provide leave for family violence victims under Texas and federal law?
Only employers with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius must offer job-protected FMLA leave to their employees. If your organization is below that limit, make sure not to mention it in your employee handbook or benefits materials.
Sometimes, an employer’s most valuable quality is patience. For example, letting an employee take FMLA leave even if you suspect his underlying condition may not really qualify can make the employee’s subsequent lawsuit fall flat.
Document your reason for firing an employee who is out on FMLA leave.
Need to contact an employee out on FMLA leave about pressing business matters like incomplete work or file locations? That’s perfectly fine. Courts recognize that employers may need information the employee has.
Employers must keep careful track of accrued vacation time employees use and vacation time accrued but unused. That’s particularly true for employers that operate in California and one or more other states.
Employees who take FMLA leave sometimes think their supervisors aren’t allowed to criticize any performance deficiencies that occurred before the leave began. That’s just not true.
The start of each school year brings new responsibilities that pull employees away from work. You may try to be flexible with your parent-workers, but how far you have to bend depends in large part on whether employees are nonexempt or exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state short-term leave laws.

Employees who take FMLA intermittent leave can wreak havoc with work schedules. Because their conditions can flare up at any time, their absences are by nature unpredictable. But there are ways you can legally curtail intermittent leave.

Sometimes, all a disabled employee needs in order to return to her job is a little bit of additional leave. But there needs to be some sort of estimated return date.
The FMLA has been around for almost a quarter century now. Employers have no excuse for ignoring the law.
Good HR practices rely on complete and accurate documentation. That’s especially true when it comes to FMLA administration, where noncompliance with notice requirements spurs plenty of lawsuits.
Make sure HR staff know how to calculate FMLA leave and keep careful tabs on how that leave is used. That way, you minimize chances that an employee will receive erroneous information that could lead to a lawsuit alleging that you interfered with someone’s FMLA rights.
Do you offer voluntary overtime to employees, but make attendance mandatory if employees sign up? If so, watch how you calculate FMLA leave. You have to include the overtime in the calculation of available FMLA hours, or you can’t subtract FMLA hours for an absence.
If you are sure an employee has been misusing FMLA leave or submitting fraudulent information as part of her FMLA leave request, don’t fear punishing her.
Although HR usually handles the details when an employee is eligible and takes Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave, managers should never be in the dark about what that means once the leave is approved.
FMLA compliance may be one of the trickiest parts of an HR pro’s job, but the law’s notification requirements are easy to deal with.
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