It seems like cheating to just refer you to another website for valuable FMLA information, but the Department of Labor’s FMLA Frequently Asked Questions covers everything you need to know in a concise and easy-to-navigate format. It really is the best place to start and its information straight from the horse’s mouth.
2. Read your company’s FMLA policy
This also seems like obvious advice, but it’s often overlooked. There are things you must do under the official FMLA regulations, but there are a number of things that companies can chose to do or not do related to FMLA as well. For example, does your company have something in their policy about moonlighting or working a 2nd job while on FMLA? Do you require employees to use any available paid time prior to using unpaid FMLA? Make sure you know what your specific policy states so that you confidently administer your FMLA leaves.
3. Download and customize the DOL forms
Again, the DOL is a great source for all the required forms that you’ll need, but make sure you convert them to a word format (it may require some re-formatting on your part) and then add your contact information, fax number for returning the completed form, the due date, and any other specifics that you need the doctor’s office or employee to know.
4. Create a simple tracking tool
Create a simple excel spreadsheet that has a list of all your leaves. Add a filter so that you can easily summarize by due dates, end dates, open or closed leaves.
5. Be compassionate
If you read up on FMLA case law, you’ll notice that the root cause of many of the cases as nothing to do with paperwork details. They’re related, one way or another, to how the employer made the employee feel about their leave or their health condition. The case law is full of situations where an employee’s manager disparaged them in front of their coworkers, took adverse action against them without cause, or in the most extreme cases, fired them for something that appeared to be retaliation for taking a leave of absence. What’s the key to avoiding those situations? Compassion. Use it in your own practice and train your managers how to have compassion for their employees. If the employee feels like their employer genuinely cares for them, they won’t have the desire, or cause, to sue you.
We hope you enjoyed reading our article on 5 Easy Steps for the FMLA Beginner!
Leave Solutions is based in Milwaukee, WI and helps employers with their FMLA and leave of absence processes from a Human Resources perspective.
Contact us today at email@example.com if you have questions on beginner tips on FMLA or other topics.