Stop Summertime FMLA Abuse: The Friday Monday Leave Act
Posted: July 29, 2019
Does summertime feel like FMLA stands for the "Friday Monday Leave Act" instead of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
From late May to early September, you expect some empty desks or vacant work stations because of pre-approved paid time off (PTO). What cannot be planned for is people making FMLA claims for absence that may not be on the up-and-up.
Keep employees honest
Do not hesitate to put a system in place and use it to protect the company from lost productivity due to FMLA abuse.
FMLA is intended to protect workers from losing their job over a medical or family emergency.
It is never meant for "It's too nice outside to go to the office" or "The kids want to go to the beach" time off.
Five ways to stop FMLA abuse
Jeff Nowak, author of the FMLAInsights.com blog, recommends the following tactics to make sure all time taken as FMLA fits the criteria:
- Get written leave requests. You cannot deny FMLA if the worker provides verbal notice of leave and gives a reason why they cannot follow proper procedures to request it in writing. However, ask for their request upon their return.
- Ask questions. When FMLA is requested, ask the worker: What is the reason for your FMLA absence? What functions of your job can you not perform? Will you see a doctor?
- Have call-in procedures. If you do not have written policies requiring when an employee should report an absence, work with legal counsel to get this started. It also allows you to address staffing issues early in the workday.
- Certify and re-certify. Many employers fail to request the medical certification form from the doctor which states why an employee is in need of leave. Make it a practice to request it and keep it handy. Then request recertification every 30 days.
- Follow patterns. If the employee takes FMLA only around holidays or weekends, check with their doctor to confirm if this is related to their health condition. But only ask about what is covered on the certification form.
If you are not using these guidelines, it may not be a bad idea to meet with employment counsel to audit your FMLA policies. Using best practices can help combat abuse and effectively administer FMLA in your workplace.
Posted In: Human Resources, General; Workplace Policies/Rules; Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Want to know more? Read the full article by Lynn Cavanaugh at HR Morning