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Don’t Let FMLA Leave Cause You Problems

5 May

Employers with 50 or more employees, (for 20 workweeks in the current calendar year or the preceding calendar year) are covered by the Federal Family Medical Leave Act – and in California are also regulated by the state’s California Family Rights Act. Both laws require eligible employees to be given time off under certain circumstances without pay for their own illness, caring for family members, and certain other situations. While the leave generally is for up to 12 weeks maximum within a one year period, the employer is obligated to continue the employee’s participation in group health insurance on the same basis as if work had continued..
Recently employers have experienced problems when they felt employees were out on leave for too long a period of time, or the employee was absent without notification to the employer.
An employer can protect themselves from many of these difficulties, but only if:
1. The required FMLA poster is displayed, and the poster was recently updated by the US Department of Labor effective March 8, 2013.
2. Notice about FMLA and requirements of the employer are provided to employees, most effectively done by a well written section in an Employee Handbook
3. When an employee requests time off – notification of approval or denial of FMLA leave and FMLA rights must be provided. This is an area many employers fail to observe.
4. You also should have a “no call/no show = voluntary quit” policy so employees who do not follow procedures and call in on time when they are going to be absent from work are treated as having quit their job. Courts have upheld this rule,
A copy of the latest FMLA poster, as well as model forms for the required notices are available at the US Department of Labor’s website: http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla

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