It is common for small and mid-sized employers to have employees who need to take several weeks of unpaid leave due to serious illness or a family emergency. This often means that employees will trigger that leave through the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides employees who are eligible up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave per year. This act is designed enable employees to balance work and family responsibilities for a reasonable amount of time.
FMLA can be used by employees at all public agencies, companies with 50 or more employees, public and private schools as well as other jobs. Common reasons for taking advantage of FMLA include:
- Getting treatment for a serious medical condition
- Taking care of a family member with a serious medical condition
- Giving birth or taking care of a newborn child
- Placement of a child in foster care or adoption of a child
Mistakes employers often make
The employer rules regarding FMLA can cause serious issues if the business does not adhere to the guidelines. While some workplace experts have created more extensive lists, here are five common mistakes that employers can easily avoid:
- Does not meet the obligations – Employers must complete several duties, including putting up posters about FMLA, offering advice about leave and allowing employees to take leave.
- Does not accurately determine FMLA leave – Employers must give accurate information about the number of days used and eligibility of using FMLA.
- Creating unrealistic procedures — Employers are required to be flexible about FMLA because employee emergencies are emergencies. Nevertheless, employees should give employers as much notice as possible.
- Calling employees on leave – Employers should resist the urge to call employees with work questions unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Retaliates against employees – It is against the law to punish or discriminate against employees who take advantage of FMLA.
Attorneys can further explain FMLA
Losing key employees can put companies in a bind. Rather than taking it out on the employee or simply becoming frustrated by the red tape, it’s smart to reach out to an attorney knowledgeable in business and employment law. An attorney can help guide businesses through this process, answering any questions or legal concerns you may have.