If your company has an HR rep dedicated to FMLA management then the rest of your HR team may be a little rusty on how the process works, legal updates, and best practices. Here are some tips for making sure your whole HR team is well-versed in this specialized area.
- Outside training for the entire HR staff. Case law related to FMLA and other disability issues in the workplace is constantly changing the landscape of how to best administer FMLA and address medical conditions in the workplace. Attending an annual HR conference or legal update as a team can help everyone to be in the know about trends.
- Annual policy review meeting. If your HR Business Partners don't work with the FMLA, STD, and other leave of absence policies on a regular basis then consider having an annual HR meeting that focuses on reviewing the policies, including eligibility, timelines, paperwork, and some of the most frequently asked questions. It will allow the HRBP's to answer questions in real-time for the employees they support.
- Learning to listen for FMLA "triggers". You should definitely train your managers once a year on how to listen for phrases that trigger an employee's FMLA rights. Include your entire HR team in that annual training as a refresher so that they know how to listen for triggers during phone screens, interviews, and other meetings with employees.
- Collaborative information sharing. Your HRBP's often help the departments they support with staffing needs, reorganizations, updated job descriptions, and employee relations issues. Why would your HR rep who is dedicated to FMLA and leave of absence administration doesn't need to know about all those changes? Stressful workplace changes, job changes, disciplinary action, attendance issues, and demotions can all cause an up-tick in FMLA cases and usage. Share information about large changes and escalated issues on a weekly basis across the entire HR team so that you can collaborate and prepare for the side effects of change management.
- Document processes and cross-train, often. There may only be one person in charge of your company's FMLA management, but who will take over the work if they go on a vacation, win the lottery, or need a leave of absence themselves? Be sure to write down all of the leave of absence processes, include when exceptions are typically made. Then cross-train with another HR staff member so that they could take over in a pinch. We recommend reviewing the documentation and giving a brief cross-training refresher at least twice a year.
- Detailed documentation for each case. Your company's FMLA management rep should keep notes on each leave of absence case so that any HRBP could open the notes, review them, and then give the employee the same answer.
Leave Solutions provides FMLA training, software, and outsourcing options for FMLA and disability management. Contact Leave Solutions at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a quote or visit www.leavesolutions.com for more information.