It’s a Friday in the middle of summer. So, approximately half of your workforce called off today due to an FMLA-related absence. [Well, not really, but I’m not that far off, amirite?]

Take heart. At least you’re not the City of Chicago.

As reported this week by the City’s Inspector General, three

Poorly implemented FMLA policies and procedures are in the spotlight this week.  And just a few vague words and a slip up are costing two employers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Their mistakes, however, are golden lessons for the rest of us.

Confusion Over How Much Maternity Leave is Provided

In Sad Employer Story No.

FarleyI recently had an interesting call with a DOL investigator, and I wanted to share it with you.

First, let me set the background. I represent a large national employer with multi-state locations, including several on the east coast. One of these east coast locations employed Johnny [name changed to protect the guilty],

Pink floyd.jpgHello…hello…hello…is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone home?  

Have your employees have become so evasive in their requests for medical leave that you feel like signing Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” to get them to talk? Have no fear — you don’t have to become

sheriff car.jpgCook County, Illinois (the county in which Chicago is located) currently faces one of the largest budget deficits in its government’s history.  So, when the Cook County Board president (Toni Preckwinkle) tells the County Sheriff (Tom Dart) to cut $70 million from his budget, it tends to grab people’s attention.  In this story, however, this proposed budget cut took a back seat to a notable statistic that grabbed the headlines: one out of every five employees in the sheriff’s office takes FMLA leave on any given workday.  At the Cook County Jail, it’s one in four, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.

Before you are left aghast at these figures, allow me to point out a sad fact: the Cook County Sheriff is not alone.  In my experience, I find all too many employers that suffer through FMLA absenteeism percentages well above the single digits.  In fact, a new client shared with me that as much as 30% of its workforce is absent on any given workday, the far majority of which is FMLA-related. 

When I hear of FMLA absenteeism figures as high as these, one thing is abundantly clear: FMLA abuse is rampant in that workplace.  Fortunately for employers in this situation, there are several tools available to turn the tide and take back your workplace. 


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