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Human Resources

FMLA in 5 Easy Steps

Christine Batten, PHR
by Christine Batten, PHR on March 12, 2014

FMLAAn employee wants to take time off for family or medical reasons. How do you, the employer, determine if you are obligated to do so under the Family Medical Leave Act?

5 Steps to Follow

1. Determine if the FMLA is applicable to your business. Employers must comply with the FMLA if they have a facility with 50 or more employees or several facilities within a 75 mile radius which combined have 50 or more employees. (If the FMLA does not apply to you, there may be other laws to consider and you should consult with a HR professional regarding other obligations you may have).

2. Determine if the employee is eligible. Employees may be eligible for leave under the FMLA if they have worked for at least 12 months, and at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months preceding their leave.

3. Understand how much leave an eligible employee may take. Up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12 month period for the employee’s own or a family member’s serious health condition; due to the birth or placement of a child; or because a child, parent, or spouse of the employee has been called to active duty in the military. Up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12 month period to care for a spouse, child, or parent who is an injured member of the military.

4. Go through the notice and certification process. Provide notice informing an employee of their rights when:
- They notify you that they need medical leave.
- You have knowledge that their absence is for an FMLA qualifying reason.
-Request medical certification, if necessary.
-Follow up with employee (e.g., have they returned all paperwork).
-Provide intermittent leave, if necessary.

5. Reinstate at the conclusion of leave. At the conclusion of leave you must reinstate the employee to the same or substantially equivalent position held before the leave.

Remember to Avoid these Mistakes

DO NOT retaliate against an employee who has requested or taken leave.

DO NOT automatically terminate an employee whose 12 weeks of leave has been exhausted. He/she may be disabled and entitled to a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.

DO NOT cancel the employee’s health insurance (unless they are unable to pay the employee portion of the premium).

DO NOT count FMLA related absences towards no-fault attendance policies.

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Christine Batten, PHR
Christine Batten, PHR

Christine has over 20 years of HR related experience with a background in labor and employment law.