We’ve discussed the FMLA previously on our blog, but today we’re diving into the most common and problematic mistakes employers make regarding the FMLA.
It’s not written down
Ensure that your FMLA policy is in writing, with detailed information about how your HR department will count days off, determine eligibility, and outline procedure expectations. Include the content in your employee handbook, post it in the employee common spaces, and give copies to your managers.
Managers handle the execution
FMLA cases should be managed by your HR team. While your employee’s manager is probably the first person they’re going to tell about their request for FMLA leave, make sure your managers are looping in HR immediately. You’ll want to make sure HR has all of the necessary and accurate documentation and correct timeline for your employees.
Be meticulous in your documentation of an employee’s FMLA leave. There are four notices that employers are responsible for providing to their employees with: (1) general notice of FMLA rights, (2) eligibility notice within five days of leave request, (3) rights and responsibilities notice, at the same time as aforementioned eligibility notice, and (4) designation notice within five business days of determining leave that qualifies as FMLA leave.
If employees use their FMLA intermittently, be vigilant about counting days that are covered by FMLA. You want to protect your organization by properly employing FMLA, and you want to protect your employees by making sure absences are correctly accounted for. Make sure your HR team and employees taking FMLA leave have open lines of communication.
As an employer, you have the right to check into medical documentation of an employee’s FMLA request. That said, there is a fine line between inquiring for eligibility and prying too much into your employee’s medical records. Ensure you have what you need to make an eligibility decision for your employee.
Not keeping up to date
Due to its complicated nature and ever-changing case law, FMLA should be top of mind for your HR team. Make sure to stay up to date with any changes to the law, and prepare all members of your HR team to properly handle FMLA cases. Hold trainings for your managers to ensure that they know the necessary and correct way to handle FMLA requests and leave. Post your FMLA policy for your employees in public spaces and update as necessary.
Need more resources?
- Department of Labor FMLA Helpful Tools
- Department of Labor Employer’s Guide to FMLA
- Department of Labor FMLA Forms
Note: Ovia Health is not providing legal advice, nor should this blog post be taken as such. This blog post is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.
Interested in learning how to optimize your maternity benefits program along with your FMLA policies? Download our 9 Steps to Revamping Your Maternity Benefits Checklist!