Updating fmla policy
In this example, this method of calculation allows Jane a total of 20 consecutive weeks of FMLA leave.
(It could have been worse — Jane could have taken 12 weeks at the end of the year and another 12 at the beginning of the following calendar year, for a total of 24 consecutive workweeks of FMLA leave.) For employers seeking a continuity of business operations, this unintended result might be a difficult pill to swallow.
The court held that the FMLA entitled the Employee to take leave necessary "to take care of a very difficult (at times violent) sick child," and evidence at trial supported the jury’s verdict that she was retaliated against for exercising her FMLA rights.
Work with your employment counsel to ensure you’re using an FMLA year that meets your operational and business needs.
For example, in the example above, if the employee needs six weeks of leave for a serious health condition commencing February 1, 2009, only the first four weeks of the leave would be FMLA-protected. Implementing this method is an employer’s best defense against FMLA abuse, and it tends to save costs in the long run.
Moreover, it discourages employees’ use of extended periods of leave across consecutive 12-month periods.
There are a number of discussions happening lately about updating handbook provisions and social media policies to ward off a suddenly over-zealous National Labor Relations Board. As you review and revise these policies, consider also taking a look at your FMLA policy, and specifically, how you calculate your FMLA leave year.
As employers are aware, an otherwise eligible employee is entitled to 12 weeks of FMLA leave in a 12-month period.And while you’re at it, consider tightening up these other provisions in your FMLA policy and your FMLA practices, as I explained in an earlier post.