FMLA

Can we replace employee who has been on FMLA leave for 14 weeks and isn't due back soon?

01/21/2015
Q. An employee went out on leave for a medical condition after working for us for 10 months. While the employee was not FMLA-eligible when the leave commenced, he was inadvertently advised that his leave was covered by the FMLA. The employee has now been on leave for 14 weeks, and he is not expected to immediately return to work. We would now like to fill his position. Is this permissible?

Think twice before changing employee's job duties or hours during FMLA leave

01/21/2015
Employees who take FMLA leave are generally entitled to come back to their old jobs when they return. If you make any changes to their jobs, be sure you can document solid business reasons that are unrelated to FMLA leave.

OK to fire if employee doesn't call to explain why he missed expected FMLA return date

01/14/2015
Employees are supposed to notify their employers about their need for FMLA leave as soon as is practical. When they are already out on leave with a set return date, the same rule applies if the employee will need more time off. He or she can’t just extend the leave without telling anyone and expect to keep the job.

FMLA may cover some independent contractors

01/14/2015
A federal appeals court has cast doubt on the longstanding belief that independent contractors are never “employees” under the FMLA.

Calling in sick doesn't count as FMLA notice

01/12/2015

Employees are supposed to let  employers know when they may need FMLA leave, although they don’t have to specifically mention the law. However, simply calling in to report being “sick” isn’t good enough. Not every illness is covered and run-of-the-mill sickness isn’t a “serious health condition.”

How federal law prohibits family caregiver discrimination

12/30/2014
While family caregiver discrimination is not a new protected category (and no federal law expressly prohibits employment discrimination against caregivers), a number of laws provide protection for employees with caregiving responsibilities.

Is employee ready to return to work? Provide a list of essential job functions

12/29/2014
When an employee wants to return from FMLA, you can require a specific fitness-for-duty certification from the doctor. But you also have to provide the employee with a list of the job’s essential functions for the doctor to use to decide fitness for duty. Otherwise, the doctor’s statement that the employee is fit for work may be very general—and then the employer will be obliged to let the worker return.

HR staffing: Those who handle discipline shouldn't have access to FMLA info

12/23/2014

If you have a large enough HR office, it makes good sense to keep the FMLA request and approval process separate from the disciplinary process. Doing so ensures that someone with expertise in FMLA administration handles the entire process. But there is an additional benefit.

No accommodation request, no unemployment benefits

12/05/2014
Some employees who quit for health reasons may be entitled to unemployment compensation. But that’s only true if they first give their employers a chance to consider possible accommodations.

Remind managers and supervisors: No comments about pregnancy, family planning

12/05/2014
When it comes to pregnancy announcements, the only appropriate response is a hearty “Con­­grat­­u­­lations!” Keep your thoughts on family size, birth control and other pregnancy-related concerns to yourself and warn others to follow suit.

When FMLA resentment turns into harassment

12/01/2014
FMLA rules say that employers, “are prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against an employee for having exercised or at­tempted to exercise any FMLA right.” That’s why it’s important to remind supervisors (and all employees) that the FMLA is a legal right and taking it should never be grounds for criticism or punishment.

FMLA may cover some independent contractors

11/13/2014
A federal appeals court has cast doubt on the longstanding belief that independent contractors are never “employees” under the FMLA.

Explain FMLA benefits to employees before they hit their one-year anniversary

11/07/2014
Employees have to wait a year before becoming eligible for FMLA leave. But it’s wise to let them know about the law—and the benefits it provides—before they reach that one-year anniversary.

Put an immediate stop to co-worker harassment over FMLA use

11/05/2014
Some supervisors and co-workers who don’t have children may resent having to pick up the perceived slack while the new mom or dad is home with their bundle of joy. The same may be true if other employees view someone’s FMLA use as frivolous or unnecessary. When co-workers or supervisors ridicule other employees for using FMLA leave, that may be retaliation.

Is it OK to substitute paid leave for FMLA leave?

11/03/2014
Q. May an employee substitute paid leave for unpaid FMLA leave?
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