Although employees with serious health conditions are entitled to take leave under the Family and Medical Act (FMLA), employees are learning more and more ways to abuse this leave – especially when it comes to intermittent leave.
What can employers do to help curb this FMLA abuse?
The first thing employers should do is look to the tools provided by FMLA regulations themselves. This includes:
- Insisting that employees return completed medical certifications,
- Seeking recertifications when appropriate,
- Using second and third opinions,
- Enforcing notice requirements,
- Requiring collaboration for scheduling leave,
- Accurately tracking and calculating leave, and
- Conducting investigations when employees complain about a co-worker’s abuse of FMLA leave.
Additionally, employers should train their supervisors and managers not only regarding how to identify an employee’s need for leave and how leave policies work, but also regarding some of the signs of FMLA abuse, including high usage on Mondays, Fridays and/or around the holidays.
Finally, a comprehensive FMLA leave policy is a must. A well-drafted and consistently-enforced policy is an effective tool to minimize both litigation and liability when an employee is terminated for FMLA abuse.
If you need help drafting an FMLA leave policy or have any FMLA-related questions, please contact labor and employment law attorney Carrie Roelle at (812) 423-3183 or croelle@KDDK.com, or contact any member of the KDDK Labor and Employment Law Practice Team.
About the Author
Carrie Roelle, an attorney at Kahn, Dees, Donovan & Kahn, LLP, in Evansville, Indiana, is a member of the KDDK Labor and Employment Law Practice Team and the Litigation and Trial Services Practice Team. Carrie defends employers before state and federal courts, as well as various administrative agencies, in matters involving allegations of discrimination, harassment, interference, and retaliation. In addition to litigation, she participates in counseling employers on employment issues they face each day, including wage and hour compliance, disability issues, workplace policies, and litigation avoidance.