A week doesn’t go by without a client asking me whether they can discipline an employee for exceeding the number of absences allowed on their FMLA medical certification. The fact pattern usually goes something like this:

Johnny is an assemblyman at your 200-employee facility. He assembles johnson rods. He also has a chronic bad

Sick-note.jpgOne of the biggest headaches for employers when administering FMLA leave is how to deal with the employee who exceeds the frequency or duration identified on the employee’s medical certification. Nearly all of these situations involve intermittent leave, which is the type of leave most frequently abused by employees.

Take, for example, Joe, who suffers

Sick note.jpgIt’s webinar time! 

FMLA Medical certification is designed to help employers better understand an employee’s medical condition and their need for time off from work. So, why does such a helpful tool tend to create angst, confusion and frustration within the employer community?

Let’s tackle medical certification head on! Please join us on Thursday, December

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: 


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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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Your employee has requested leave due to a serious health condition – either his or her own, or to care for a family member. You’ve sent out the notices, received a medical certification, and designated an employee’s leave as FMLA. However, as the weeks or months go by, you’re not so sure that the employee