Must an employer grant FMLA leave to an employee to care for a child’s serious health condition after the child is an adult and no longer lives with the employee? Can an employee take intermittent FMLA leave for baby bonding? What should an employer do who suspects FMLA leave abuse? These questions and more were answered by Charlie Plumb in a recent BLR webinar. Read on for the answers.
The Family and Medical Leave Act requires covered employers to grant 12 to 26 weeks of leave to eligible employees for qualified medical and family reasons. These include to care for one’s own serious personal health conditions, to care for a covered family member with a serious health condition, for family military leave for a qualifying exigency, or to care for a seriously injured or ill servicemember or veteran. The FMLA also covers eligible employees after the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child within one year of the placement.
Combating FMLA abuse can be frustrating, but there are some straightforward actions employers can take to limit abuse before it happens. It all starts with proper administration of FMLA leave, including the use of medical certifications and recertifications as allowed within the FMLA regulations. These tools not only provide clarity for FMLA leave eligibility, but they also can curtail abuse. Additionally, they serve as a source of documentation to help protect your organization against claims of retaliation or FMLA leave interference.
In yesterday’s Advisor, we offered guidance on FMLA certifications; today, we’ll cover when you can “clarify” or “authenticate” those certifications, and we’ll introduce the unique checklist-based audit system that lets you find problems before the feds and the lawyers do.
When the Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional, it opened up the possibility for married same-sex couples to be extended federal benefits on many levels, including things like FMLA leave. While the details have yet to be sorted, employers are gearing up for the many changes that will surely result.
Administering FMLA leave is not always a simple task. Sometimes even the simplest questions become complex, such as how long is a week of FMLA leave when it’s taken in hours instead of in a full block of time? Do FMLA medical certifications expire? What certification can be requested when an employee is taking FMLA leave to care for a family member?
FMLA abuse is one of the biggest concerns for employers when complying with FMLA leave regulations. One example of potential FMLA abuse is questionable leave use. This is when someone is out on leave and they are doing something that seems inconsistent with the leave. For example, what happens when an employee is found to be working on another job while out on leave? What if they post photos of themselves on social media participating in celebrations or other activities that don’t seem to be in alignment with their FMLA leave?