The Family Medical Leave Act is one of the major pieces of legislation adopted in the early 1990s. It requires nearly all public employers to provide up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid leave which may be used for serious medical/health conditions or to care for family members who are going through one. Through the FMLA, the employees are guaranteed to be able to return to their same role or an equivalent position after taking their leave.
A significant legislation that provides employees with job security and support for their health and medical needs, this session’s esteemed guest will discuss all the nitty-gritty involved in the FMLA. Richard Hodsdon is an attorney, and his 40-year career included work in civil and criminal matters for criminal justice agencies and employment law.
Some of the areas that Richard touched upon on this course include:
- A brief history of the FMLA and its scope.
- The relationship between FMLA and state laws and the agencies that have the jurisdiction over complaints and violations related to them.
- The different federal discrimination laws that FMLA compliments and may potentially conflict with as the ADA, HIPAA, USERRA, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and details on how they coincide with each other.
- A breakdown of how the FMLA works that looks into:
- The employer’s duty to educate employees about their FMLA rights and obligations.
- Eligibility for FMLA that looks into their tenure in service/employment.
- Defining employees and the special circumstances under FMLA for key employees.
- The duration of the leave and the reasons that qualify an employee to take a Family Medical Leave.
- The scope of the term ‘serious health condition’ where a Family Medical Leave may be applied.
- The certification policy that employers may ask from the employee.
- The employers’ prerogative to require that an employee seek second opinion from their accredited health care provider prior to using their Family Medical Leaves.
- Recordkeeping regulations that require Family Medical Leave-related documentation to be kept in a separate file.
- Regulations on keeping updated with an employee on leave on their plans to return to work.
- Intermittent leaves through the FMLA and workaround that may be utilized to reduce potential disruptions that intermittent leaves may cause.
- Cases where spouses are employed by the same employer, the rules encompassing such cases, and ways to work around the rules.
- Worker’s compensation related to FMLA discussing the continuity of compensation and benefits including insurance premiums.
- Reinstating an employee after taking a Family Medical Leave that ensures the employee is restored to the same or an equal position.
- The course attendees had a number of questions for Richard including those related to:
- An employee turning down taking FMLA.
- The legality of an employer requiring the employee to exhaust all paid leaves available before utilizing Family Medical Leave.
- Who must go through the FMLA training and other resources for FMLA matters.
- Reassigning an employee to a different role that might negatively impact their career trajectory.
- The applicability of the discussed statutes to incarcerated individuals.
- Providing private and personal information to third party contractors who processes FML paperwork.
- An employee returning from a Family Medical Leave with limited restrictions and the possibility of being accommodated under the ADA.