[author: Jo Ellen Whitney]
This post is the third post in a seven-week series. Check back each week for a new topic.
The Family and Medical Leave Act is incredibly paper dependent. You need to have a clear policy that explains to employees how your Family and Medical Leave Act is calculated (there are four statutory methods-pick one). The policy should also include:
how they will receive notice;
the expectations for reporting (those who are on intermittent leave need to know how much leave they have remaining); and,
how much leave they have used on a regular and consistent basis.
FMLA IS NOT THE PROM:
You do not ask an employee as to whether or not they would like to join you in the FMLA if you bring them a nice enough corsage. As an employer, if an employee has an FMLA covered issue, you need to make sufficient inquiries, provide documentation and certification, and place the employee on Family and Medical Leave. Failure to do so can result in significantly extended leave of absences, well past the time when it has become impossible for you to realistically fill the position or manage to work with the absence of the employee.
MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND YOUR OWN POLICIES:
How does your policy work? How is the calculation process done? Is it a calendar year, a rolling calendar year, (a look backwards), or one of the other methodologies? How often do employees receive notices? Do you send the appropriate notification, which requires a physician certification based job functions, when an employee returns to work? All of those issues are critical. Failure by a mid-level manager to complete these steps can result in significantly extended leaves, additional FMLA liability, or litigating.
Next up - the joyful event of pregnancy leave. Next week, I'll share state-specific pregnancy leave takeaways.