Six Ways to Minimize FMLA Abuse by Employees

Employees have started to develop a new skill in the office - the mastery of missing work days. Employees are learning how to abuse FMLA policies, particularly when it comes to using intermittent leave, and the company is paying the price.

With this increasing issue, managers need to hold themselves accountable to strictly enforce FMLA and other attendance policies. Use the six valuable tips below to avoid being taken advantage of by employees abusing FMLA.

Calculate FMLA Leave With a Rolling Calendar

Using a rolling calendar year means calculating FMLA backwards, based on the first date the employee uses leave. This helps to minimize the opportunity for employees to try and double their FMLA time based on a regular calendar year.

Require Medical Certifications

Every company should develop an internal policy that employees must submit a medical certification to the the appropriate personnel within 15 days of the start of their FMLA leave. Examine the certification closely to determineits creditability. If suspicion does arise, you have the right to ask for a second opinion from an objective provider.

Require Employees to Provide Advance Notification

Employees should be required to submit a request at least 30 days in advance for all foreseeable FMLA leave.  Obviously, emergency FMLA requests and other special circumstances may not apply.

Strictly Enforce All Attendance Policies

Members of management must be strict when enforcing all absentee policies. The key is to stay consistent in following procedures, whether an employee is gone for one day or two months.

Request Employees to Appropriately Schedule Medical Appointments Around Work

Employers have the right to ask employees to schedule treatments and appointments at convenient hours of their work day, usually early morning or late afternoon. Scheduling appointments in these time frames allows employees to be present and productive for the majority of their work day. If necessary, employers can give the employee an alternative position to accommodate the changing schedule during intermittent FMLA.

Require Medical Recertification

Finally, if an employee is taking an extended leave of absence, require them to resubmit medication certification every 30 days (or more frequently) to stay up-to-date. This will ensure the employee is not taking more time off than necessary.

FMLA was not intended to be disruptive or abusive to employers or companies, but unfortunately there will be employees who try to cheat the system. As a manager, remaining consistent, asking questions, and keeping track of all attendance will help decrease the opportunities for FMLA abuse by employees.

For more information on the basics of FMLA, read our Policies and Procedures of Family and Military Leave Act Blog post.

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