How to Manage FMLA

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    • 1). Understand the law. Employees may be eligible for FMLA leave (1) if a serious health condition prevents them from doing their job; (2) to care for a spouse, parent or child with a serous medical condition; (3) for the birth and care of a child; or (4) for the placement of a foster or adopted child. FMLA leave may also be available in certain situations where the employee's family member is on active duty in the military or National Guard.

    • 2). Obtain the necessary notifications. To invoke FMLA leave, the employee must provide the employer with 30 days notice of his need for FMLA leave if the need for leave is foreseeable. If the need for leave is not foreseeable, the employee must notify the employer as soon as practicable. It is not necessary that the employee mention the FMLA by name when making his first request for FMLA leave.

    • 3). Request medical certification. An employer can request medical certification of an employee's need for FMLA leave based on a serious medical condition. An employer may request additional certifications at the employer's own expense and periodic recertifications as necessary. An employer may require that an employee submit a certification that she is fit to return to work when returning from FMLA leave.

    • 4). Monitor intermittent leave. FMLA leave can be taken intermittently, for example, in blocks of time for the same qualifying reason, or on a reduced schedule. If FMLA leave is required for a serious medical condition, the employee must make an effort to schedule the intermittent leave so as to not disrupt the employer's operations. Employers should closely monitor an employee's use of intermittent leave to ensure that the employee's 12-week allotment is not exceeded.

    • 5). Reinstate the employee to the same job. The FMLA requires that an employee returning from FMLA must be reinstated to his same job, or to an equivalent job with essentially the same pay, duties, benefits and conditions of employment. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in severe penalties and litigation.

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