wh380f.jpgIn 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

air force.pngOne the biggest FMLA headaches for employers is when an employee fails or refuses to provide information to cure insufficient or incomplete medical certification.  When the employer does not have the information to determine whether an absence qualifies as FMLA leave, it is left with a true dilemma: Try and obtain permission to talk to

Baseball batter.jpgIn this opening weekend of major league baseball, hope springs eternal for every baseball fan.  In honor of my beloved Chicago White Sox, I offer an FMLA lineup card below that from top to bottom will help employers stay atop the pennant race throughout the year. 

[First, feel free to play the National Anthem if you so desire…]

From the Leadoff Hitter to the end of the lineup, here are my FMLA All Stars: 

Continue Reading Play Ball! An FMLA Lineup That Keeps You in the Pennant Race

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. 

Continue Reading As FMLA Absences Mount, the Employer Must Lay Down the Law

When an employee remains absent even after her doctor provides a medical certification confirming that she can return to work, it might seem reasonable for an employer to deny the employee any further FMLA leave and, if the employee fails to return, to terminate her employment. However, if the employer has not specifically informed the