Category Archives: FMLA FAQs

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FMLA FAQ: Can a Chiropractor Certify FMLA Leave for the Chronic Bad Back? And Are There Limits?

Backs across America must collectively be giving out, as my clients’ questions about medical certification from chiropractors are on the increase. So, I’ll hit this one head on: Is a chiropractor considered a health care provider under the FMLA? And are there any special rules that apply to them? Yes and yes. Are Chiropractors “health … Continue Reading

FMLA FAQ: Must an Employer Accept FMLA Medical Certification from an Online Health Care Provider? And What If It's an LCPC?

Q: Our employee is trying to support his need for FMLA leave with medical certification from an online health care provider. Is this valid under the FMLA?  And What if It’s a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor?  A: Tackling the online doctor issue first, my knee-jerk reaction is NO WAY! After all, the FMLA regulations make clear that … Continue Reading

FMLA FAQ: How Do Snow Days Affect FMLA Leave?

Q. Like many east coast employers preparing for the impending blizzard, we want to know how we calculate FMLA leave if our office is closed due to the weather. I have an employee out on FMLA.  Do I count the snow day against this employee’s 12-week leave entitlement? A. Although the FMLA rules do not directly … Continue Reading

FMLA FAQ: Must an Employer Provide Intermittent FMLA Leave So An Employee Can Attend to an Autistic Child?

Q:  One of our employees, a front desk receptionist, maintains an erratic work schedule because she must attend to her autistic son.  In short, her son throws a tantrum at school if his mom does not personally drop him off and pick him up from school.  For instance, he hides under a table, refuses to participate, and becomes very aggressive … Continue Reading

FMLA FAQ: Can an Employer Designate FMLA Leave When an Employee Refuses to Provide Medical Certification?

I received a ton of feedback last week in response to my post about whether an employee can decline FMLA leave even though the absence qualifies under the Act. One question, in particular, was thrown at me repeatedly, and it went something like this: In our workplace, when an employee doesn’t want to take FMLA … Continue Reading

FMLA FAQ: Must an Employer Designate FMLA Leave When the Employee Does Not Want to Use FMLA Leave, or When the Employee Fails to Mention FMLA?

Q:  One of our employees will be absent for a serious health condition.  However, the employee prefers to use his accrued sick days instead of FMLA leave.  He has enough sick time to cover the absence.  In this situation, can the employee choose not to take FMLA leave, either because he has not specifically asked … Continue Reading

FMLA FAQ: Does an Employer Violate the FMLA When an Employee Answers E-Mail or Telephone Calls While on Leave?

Q:  An employee who recently returned from FMLA leave claims that a portion of his leave of absence should not count against his FMLA entitlement because he responded to a number of work-related e-mails and telephone calls while he was out.  Can we still count this time as FMLA leave? A:  I have fielded this question from … Continue Reading

FMLA FAQ: Can an Employer Deny FMLA Leave to An Employee Who Is Not Yet Eligible to Take Leave?

Q: Can an Employer Deny FMLA Leave to An Employee Who Is Not Yet Eligible to Take Leave? A.  It depends, particularly after a federal appellate court handed down a ruling on this very issue last week. The underlying story is straightforward: On October 5, 2008, Kathryn Pereda began working for Brookdale, which operates senior living facilities … Continue Reading

The DOL's FMLA Forms Expired on December 31, 2011. Should Employers Still Use Them?

In a flurry of activity at the end of 2011, several employers contacted me to determine whether the DOL notice and certification forms still were valid, even though they contain an expiration date of December 31, 2011.  In short, employers may continue to use the DOL’s FMLA forms, although consider our suggestions below before using … Continue Reading

FMLA FAQ: Can an Employer Credit Pre-FMLA Leave Against an Employee's FMLA Entitlement When the Employee Becomes Eligible?

Q. We provide our employees “non-FMLA” leave after they have worked for us for six months. They are given up to six weeks off during that time if it can be certified by a physician.  Since these employees are not eligible for FMLA leave at this point, can we credit the time they took off against their … Continue Reading

FMLA FAQ: How Many Intermittent FMLA Leave Hours is an FLSA-Exempt Employee Entitled To?

Q. We employ an FLSA-exempt employee who has been certified for intermittent FMLA leave for migraine headaches.  He averages two to three intermittent absences per month.  Normally, I would calculate the employee’s total FMLA allotment as 480 FMLA hours (12 weeks x 40 hrs/wk), but he claims he should be entitled to 600 FMLA hours because … Continue Reading

FMLA FAQ: Is a Reinstated Employee Short on "Hours Worked" Eligible for FMLA Leave?

Q. We terminated an employee who has been reinstated by an arbitrator with full back pay.  Now, he has requested FMLA leave.  Are we obligated to provide leave even though he has not worked 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months? A.  When determining whether an employee has worked the requisite 1,250 hours in the previous 12 … Continue Reading

FMLA FAQ - How do snow days affect FMLA leave?

Q. Like many employers, we were closed yesterday due to the massive blizzard. We have an employee out on FMLA leave. Do I count the snow day against this employee’s 12-week leave entitlement? A. Although the FMLA rules do not directly address this question, the general rule for counting FMLA leave during a holiday week would … Continue Reading

Policies, Practices and More: An FMLA "To Do" List for 2011

FMLA developments in 2010 came fast and furious: the DOL’s interpretation clarifying the definition of in loco parentis, GINA’s impact on the FMLA, an impending DOL survey on how families use medical leave, and a number of new court cases giving guidance (and in some cases, muddying the waters) on important issues such as FMLA eligiblity and notice, … Continue Reading