Intermittent FMLA can be a big headache at many companies: Many managers suspect workers of taking advantage because monitoring FMLA intermittent leave is so difficult.
Fortunately, you can reduce the numbers of problems with malingering on FMLA intermittent leave by reducing temptation.
That is, you want to put controls in place to reduce the chances that people will allow “mission creep” during their family medical leaves, such as running personal errands on the way back to the workplace.
Preventive approach to FMLA intermittent leave abuse
The key is to sit down with leave-takers before their FMLA leave starts and communicate the expectations clearly. Here is an approach to consider:
Before FMLA intermittent leave begins, explain whether or not you are going to require regular re-certification. You can require the employee to supply monthly re-certifications of the need for family medical leave. That may not be necessary, but you may feel more secure in requiring re-certification every so often. Regular reporting by the employee to you about the continuing need for FMLA reminds workers that FMLA intermittent leave isn’t a break, but time off for a purpose.
Find out upfront if the FMLA intermittent leave requirements can be filled off-hours. Workers are not entitled to take leave for things they can do after hours. A conversation about whether the appointment may be done after hours – and occasional follow-ups – may help both of you to clearly understand the need for ongoing leave during working hours.
Explain what you plan to do about wages or salary. You may dock even exempt employees for FMLA intermittent leave, and may choose to do so, depending on the specifics of the situation. For example, you may allow workers to make up lost time or work at home.
Clarify performance expectations during FMLA intermittent leave. Depending on the situation, you may want to adjust expectations – or not. The key is for you, the worker and the manager to know what the expectations are.
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