Any program or law designed to help someone is virtually guaranteed to be abused, and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is no exception. You’d think the fact that FMLA leave is unpaid would cut down on abuse, but there still are people who will try to play the FMLA system to protect their job and benefits, delay being fired (they hope), or for countless other reasons.
However, you can’t just go by a gut feeling that an employee is abusing his or her FMLA leave, no matter how strong the gut feeling is. You need solid evidence, you need to have fully informed the employee about your policies and his or her responsibilities on FMLA leave, and you need to enforce your policies fairly and without discrimination. One way to show your commitment to fairly enforcing your policies is to post provisions regarding the FMLA.
Employer notice provisions
The FMLA regulations require employers to:
- Post U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL)’s General Notice to Employees of Rights Under FMLA (WHD Publication 1420);
- Issue an eligibility notice after an employee has requested leave (or the employer has become aware of the need for leave);
- Include a rights and responsibilities notice at the same time, along with a copy of any required certification and various notices of the employee’s rights and obligations under the FMLA; and
- Follow up with a designation notice letting the employee know either that she is entitled to leave or that her leave request is being denied, and why.