Updating fmla policy

Bottom line You are well-advised to consult with experienced employment counsel and conduct a self-audit of your FMLA policies, forms, and practices to reduce your liability if you’re ever faced with a DOL audit or a lawsuit filed by an employee. How do you keep tabs on employees without infringing upon their rights to FMLA leave?

Houston, TX — A number of recent changes have been made to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

These changes will require you as an Employer to change current corporate policies and procedures in order to comply with the new FMLA.

As companies set and review new goals for 2011, keep in mind that the new FMLA regulations allow Employers to deny such bonuses as “perfect attendance” awards to employees who take FMLA leave. However, many Employers are not including the requisite language in severance and settlement agreements.

Employer model agreements should be properly updated to ensure that the language on FMLA claim releases is sufficient.

Generally, an employer may select one of four options to establish the 12-month period: (1) the calendar year, (2) any fixed 12 months, (3) the 12-month period measured forward from the first date an employee takes FMLA leave, or (4) a “rolling” 12-month period measured backward from the date an employee uses any FMLA leave.

According to the DOL, if an employer fails to select one of those 12-month measuring periods, the employer must use the 12-month period that is most beneficial to employees. According to the DOL’s regulations, an employer “must allow employees to use FMLA leave in the increment of time the employer allows for the use of other forms of leave, as long as it is no more than one hour.” If you allow employees to take sick leave in 30 minute increments, you must also allow employees who are approved for intermittent FMLA leave to take it in 30-minute increments.Two seasoned labor and employment lawyers from the will reveal best practices for FMLA administration with respect to intermittent leave and reduced-schedule leave.You’ll learn how to comply with legal requirements, spot instances of FMLA abuse, and respond in a timely and legal manner to minimize the adverse effects such abuse can have on workplace productivity and morale. Your FMLA policy should therefore specify the procedures for requesting foreseeable and unforeseeable leave (e.g., providing written notice 30 days in advance of foreseeable leave), and indicate the penalty for failing to comply with the requirements.Enforce those procedures uniformly for all employees who take FMLA leave or have other forms of absences. FMLA-covered employers are required to display the DOL’s “general notice” poster in each location where they have any employees and where it can be readily seen by employees and job applicants.If you have any FMLA-eligible employees, you must also include the general notice in your employee handbook, policy manual, or other written guidance on employee benefits or leave rights.