Navigating the Leave Management Maze

Navigating the Leave Management Maze

Complications of Leave-Management


Complications of Leave Management

A part of running a business is dealing with employees that have to go on a period of leave, for whatever reason. This type of thing can happen when a person gets sick or gets injured and is going to be out of commission for a while, if they have to take care of a sick child or dependent, or a number of other reasons that may require them to take a leave from work. One of the most difficult things for both the employer and employee to deal with during these scenarios is navigating through the major maze that comes along with monetary payments and legal issues that are going to be present. The process gets extremely complex when you start to add in the varying ways that different states and organizations proceed with different cases.

Consulting with Legal Counsel

There are a ton of different scenarios that a company may be dealing with in each particular case, with each separate employee and situation, so it is imperative that a company talks to their legal counsel to handle each case. The first thing that the company and the legal counsel are going to have to figure out is where the individuals case falls and how they should proceed forward. They must figure out if the case is covered by laws and regulations, which is something that the legal counsel is going to have to look at and try to determine. There is also a lot of consideration that goes into each case in terms of how long a person is likely going to be out of work, or how long they have already been on a leave from work.


Come Back to Work

Ability to Come Back to Work

Each company that is dealing with this type of case is going to have to write out clear plans for evaluating and discussing when each employee that is out on a leave can come back to work. The focus for these discussions should be on analyzing whether or not they have the ability to come back to work or not, which really sets the dialogue for any legal issue and monetary amount that may be paid out to them. If an employee has the opportunity to come back to work, they likely are not going to be fully covered during their leave, and it may have to go to another organization to handle the matter. Each case is very confusing, which is why it’s important for a company to have a legal counsel that in place and ready to work on these types of cases when they pop up.

Constructing a Clear Policy

One of the smartest thing that any company can do is set up a policy that dictates what is acceptable when it comes to taking a leave. Every employee in the company should know and understand what constitutes a situation that may lead to a leave from work and there needs to be a clear cut line. Having this out in the open, where each employee can read and understand the rules before-hand really cuts down on the confusion that might take place in the future. If an employee knows when they can and can’t take a leave, based on what is written in the policy, there is less likely to be a dispute later on down the line if they do in fact reach a situation where they may need to take a leave.


Case by Case

Case by Case Basis

While it is a great thing to have rules written out and a well-defined policy out in the open, it is drastically important for companies to realize that each and every case is different and needs to be looked at on an individual basis. For example, a person may be forced to take a leave to take care of a sick family member, or a child that needs 24/7 attention for a period of time, but the case may not be as dire or as serious as another separate case. Each case needs to be analyzed and approached with a bit of caution at first, which should help to tread lightly on any issue that may be sensitive, and will help to create a better overall solution to the legal and monetary issues regarding the leave.



Outsourcing Leave Management

Based on the fact that this type of thing can be so confusing for companies to deal with, a huge amount of businesses have simply decided to outsource this type of work. There are companies out there that specialize in dealing with leave issues, so this is a very viable option for different businesses to utilize. If you own a business and are struggling to handle this aspect of your company, you may want to consider outsourcing.



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The Law and FMLA Employee Requests

The Law and FMLA Employee Requests

What is the FMLA?

Most employees in the work force know what the initials FMLA stands for, however, few employees know exactly what surrounds these four letters. The Family Medical Leave Act is legally available to every employee who must take a leave of absence from their job due to family emergencies and circumstances.


Strict confidentiality

Employer Professionalism Rules at All Times

It is the responsibility of the employer to keep conversations strictly to the facts between them and the employee needing the FMLA in strict confidence why they need the FMLA leave and facts surrounding this request. Employers who pass on FMLA information to other employees can find themselves in legal trouble.

1. Employers Cannot Put Demands on Employee FMLA Grants

Employers cannot tell employees that they are expected to be to work. When employers interfere with FMLA leaves this opens the door for lawsuits in which the employee will likely win in a court of law.

2. Employers Cannot Pull an FLMA Grant from an Employee

Employers cannot grant time off to any employee who requests a legitimate FMLA and then tell the employee they cannot have that time granted because of any number of reasons causes the employee to sue the company for the interference of their FMLA, especially if the time granted to the employee is not long enough and an extension is denied due to the company needing the employee on the work schedule. Cases such as these end up in court with the employee suing their company for interference with their FMLA even though the time requested was granted. The courts, see this as inconsiderate on behalf of the employee’s company when the extension is needed and not granted.

3. Employers Must Watch Be Mindful of all Conversations with FMLA Employees

Employers dare not mention to employees that FMLA requests will not be granted for any reason. If an employee is aware of this sentiment by their employer and they need to request a legitimate FMLA knowing it is against the employer’s desires to grant such a request the employee can file a lawsuit for the interference of FMLA leave even though the leave is granted. The court can see this employer’s action as an interference of FMLA leave.

At all cost, the employers must keep comments and remarks that prove nothing to themselves and stick only with the sound facts. Employers must keep observations to themselves as well, no matter how the employee behaves if the employee requests an FLMA.

In short, employers need to curb any unnecessary comments to all employees, because if the employer is sued by the employee, the employee will likely win the court case due to the employer interference of employee FMLA leave.


Court support

The Court Supports Employees Granted FMLA

Courts apparently look at all aspects of the employees FMLA case and if there are any indications that the employer made any derogatory comments regarding that employee’ FMLA leave the employer will lose the lawsuit.

If there are any indications that any employer threatened to hold an FMLA from an employee, try to coax the employee out of taking an FMLA for any reason, or make an inappropriate remark, the employer could find themselves with a lawsuit by their employee.

Employers, Never Coerce an Employee Requested FMLA

When an employee needs personal family time off from work they must not feel threatened by the company and no arguments can be initiated by the employer on why the employee cannot be granted the time off as indicated. This opens the employer up for a lawsuit by the employee. Employers cannot threaten to fire the employee if they do not return to work of the time off is needed for the family.

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A Bit of FMLA History

The FMLA was born in 1993 during the Clinton administration to help employees meet demands in the workplace and at the same time be available for their family if unusual circumstances arise.

An FMLA allows employees to take at least 12 weeks of unpaid time off from their job without pay and not jeopardize their job or seniority. This time off is meant for health and family issues with the employees, their children, parents, family members, pregnancy, adoption, foster care of a child.


Exceptions to the Law

Exceptions to the FMLA Laws

There are certain criteria that an employee must meet before they are eligible for an FLMA of up to 12-weeks within a 12-month period. FMLA leaves do not pertain to elected officials or their staff. There are certain other employees who are exempt from requested FMLA leaves.

– On the job for at least 12-months
– 1,250 hours on the job over a 12- month period
– Be employed at a company where there are at least 50 employees