This blog is a sequel to my previous post summarizing the rules and regulations governing an employee’s use of intermittent FMLA leave, which you can find here.
Managing employees’ requests for intermittent FMLA leave can be complicated and frustrating. Intermittent leave is difficult to track. It is often abused (or is it merely coincidental that leave is most often requested for a Friday, Monday, or the day before a holiday?!). Intermittent leave causes workplace disruption—especially when it is unforeseeable. Employee morale is often affected when co-workers are forced to pick up the slack for an absent co-worker. Although employees on intermittent leave may be temporarily reassigned to a different position, they must still be restored to their original position at the end of the approved leave period. No wonder that FMLA leave is a chronic HR headache!
Here are a few tips for treating this chronic headache:
- Use call in policies and specific leave forms to track individual employee requests.
- Utilize centralized FMLA tracking systems to accurately calculate and record leave, especially when leave is taken in increments of less than one day.
- Consistently require medical certifications and recertifications, but be sure to observe the regulations that limit the scope of medical information requested and the timing of the requests.
- Treat certifications as confidential medical records and maintain them in a separate file (not as part of the employee’s personnel file!).
- Maximize workplace productivity by temporarily reassigning employees on intermittent leave to other positions, with equivalent pay and benefits.
- Train supervisors and managers on the provisions of FMLA to avoid interference and retaliation claims.
Take 2 aspirin and call your legal advisor if you experience increased symptoms or if you believe you have been exposed to an increased risk of liability.