Most organizations have one or two of them: slacker employees who never quite manage to get themselves fired, but have to be watched closely to make sure they’re working and not surfing the Web, chatting or taking long lunches.

And unfortunately for managers, the Family and Medical Leave Act – a law whose aims are certainly praiseworthy, and which most employees don’t abuse – gives these slackers one more weapon in their advanced arsenal of task avoidance. All they need is a vague symptom or two, a sympathetic doctor, and voila: With little warning, you’re a person short and you don’t know how you’re going to find a fill-in.

So what’s a manager to do?

NOT what he or she might be tempted to do: Tell such employees that you know they’re faking, and you’re going to write them up. That’s putting yourself in the fast lane to lawsuit hell.

No, here’s where managers need to know about FMLA certification and, especially, recertification: the process whereby employees have to prove – and sometimes, re-prove – that they really have a condition that gives them the right to FMLA time off.

If managers understand FMLA certification/recertification, and apply the rules, they’ll:

  • Put everyone on notice that your organization is vigilant about FMLA leave
  • Legally dissuade employees’ doctors from giving them license to goof off
  • Make sure slackers feel the pinch, pressuring them to give up their FMLA “game.”

photo credit: BinaryApe

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