• The HR Specialist - Print Newsletter
  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
  • The HR LAW Weekly
  • The HR Weekly

FMLA

7 bills to watch: Congress’ 2010 employment law agenda

02/09/2010

When Republican Scott Brown of Massachusetts won January’s special election to fill the seat long occupied by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, Democrats lost their 60-vote supermajority in the Senate. That means it will be that much more difficult for the Obama administration to make good on many of its pro-employee campaign promises. That’s not to say those employment law initiatives are dead. The following are the key initiatives pending in Congress.

RIF? Make sure layoff decision-makers don’t know workers’ FMLA status

02/03/2010

Economic times remain tough, and businesses are still finding they have to cut costs to survive. And cutting costs often means looking at a possible reduction in force. In most organizations facing that difficult prospect, a team of managers has to decide where the cuts should be made and what criteria to use when making those cuts. Make sure the decision-making team doesn’t have access to information about FMLA usage …

Is your employee’s doctor an ‘FMLA specialist’?

01/29/2010

It happens more often than you might think. An HR office begins receiving an unusual number of FMLA certifications from the same doctor. The sudden deluge happens during peak production times and/or when employees are required to work mandatory overtime. It all points to what amounts to a scam.

How should we handle mandatory overtime when determining FMLA leave hours?

01/27/2010

Q. Can an employer deduct or count overtime hours from an employee’s FMLA balance? Our employees work overtime only from October through December. During that time, they’re required to work 12-hour days, seven days a week. We have several employees on both continuous FMLA and intermittent leave, and we’d like to deduct the overtime hours they would have worked from their FMLA allotment. What do you think?

Employee passed fitness exam? Put him to work

01/25/2010

Requiring an employee to undergo a fitness-for-duty examination to show he can perform his job doesn’t mean you’re regarding him as disabled or essentially conceding he is disabled. How you handle the exam results is what matters—not that you ordered an exam in the first place. If the exam shows the employee can perform the job, make sure you immediately reinstate him.

Start accommodations process when FMLA expires

01/25/2010

Change your policy now if you automatically terminate employees who use up their FMLA leave and can’t yet to return to work without restrictions. That’s because the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination requires employers to start an interactive accommodations process when they learn an employee may be disabled.

If worker is out on FMLA leave, can we modify her job?

01/15/2010

Q. Before an employee left for FMLA leave, she performed two functions: administrative assistant and some HR duties. We filled the administrative position while she was on leave. Can we assign her to work only in the HR position when she comes back?

You can’t choose the day for FMLA medical treatments

01/13/2010

Employees who suffer from chronic conditions may have to see their doctors regularly. Under the FMLA, if those employees give you 30 days’ notice, they’re allowed to pick the day for their appointment. You can’t simply argue that they don’t need to take off that particular day because there is no emergency or urgency.

Does the FMLA apply after a loved one has died?

01/13/2010

Q. I have an employee who has been taking FMLA leave to care for her ill mother. The employee’s mother recently died, and the employee has requested an additional few weeks to attend to some issues with her mother’s estate. Can I continue to treat this time as FMLA leave?

Think worker can’t take FMLA? Run the numbers

01/11/2010

Before you decide to fire a troublesome employee for missing work because the absences aren’t covered by the FMLA, double-check your math. In one recent case, the employer fired a “poor-performing” employee but cited a dubious reason: She was frequently absent to care for her father and wasn’t yet eligible for FMLA leave. In fact, it turned out she was eligible and the court wouldn’t buy any of the other discharge reasons.