Yesterday’s Advisor provided five tips for training your supervisors on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and how to prevent fraud and abuse. Today we’re providing five more tips on navigating this complex regulation.
- Prohibit negative comments about FMLA leave, both in general and regarding particular employees on the basis of their requests for and/or use of leave. (A quick reference to tip #2 should help here.)
- Provide supervisors with a written “quick reference guide,” outlining the various qualifying reasons for FMLA leave so they can spot potential FMLA-qualifying absences and know when to consult HR before implementing leave-related discipline. The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new employee reference guide would be very good for this purpose.
- Debunk FMLA “myths” (e.g., that taking FMLA leave requires an employee to stay confined to his or her home or requires a doctor’s note every time the employee is out of work on leave).
- Describe employees’ rights under the FMLA (e.g., job protection, no performance reviews or delays in raises due to or upon return from FMLA leave, no attendance points docked for time missed while on leave). DOL’s new Employee Guide to the FMLA could be used for this purpose.
- Cover the “rights” the FMLA does not provide, including:
- Paid leave (unless the employee has accrued sick or vacation time);
- Bonuses based on perfect attendance or other criteria (unless the employee objectively earns them); and
- Exemption from discipline for failing to follow the company’s usual notice-of-absence requirements (although employees are exempt from being disciplined for the absences themselves).