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Confusing Leave Laws

The complicated area of leaves and FMLA is a challenging topic and something that many HR professionals find complicated.

Amber, Cristina, Lano, and Lisa did an excellent panel discussion of the various intersections of the laws relating to various leave provisions. They made a complicated situation less complicated.

This team covered various laws including Workers Comp, FMLA, ADA, and leave challenges that can at times run concurrently.

The team discussed the idea of considering ADA after FMLA. FMLA has guidance and ADA is more grey and how we need to consider case-by-case situations.

The guidance by the team that considering leave under FMLA is the first step as FMLA can capably handle the leave, grant the employee what they need, and let that leave run its course. By the time the employee can return, you may not even need to consider the ADA.

If the employee didn’t meet the FMLA requirement then ensure you check they are not protected under ADA and if that law may be applicable to the employee.

Can you reasonably accommodate this? Supervisors should be familiar with FMLA as they are typically the ones who may know about the need for leave first before HR. FMLA leave requests are common but managers need to know when to partner with HR. Cristina referenced a case where the supervisor argued they didn’t know about FMLA and that wasn’t a reasonable defense. An area of attention is needed by HR and managers.

FMLA and law enforcement, the team spoke about the situations specific to the unrest in the police department resulting in injury and death, challenging and stressful times for HR and law enforcement. The time for reasonable leave can be based on the various situations each employee experiences. If the injury is serious and the employee will likely not come back at full capacity, allowing the full amount of leave for the initial leave is wise and when that is exhausted then allowing PTO available, however, at times if an employee is unable to return then they would have been terminated but this is changing.

HR needs to know that federal employees are a little different and the team spoke about how federal employees get annual leave. The use of this annual leave with FMLA can define the leave as paid or unpaid with the option to be paid FMLA by using their sick leave. They can also volunteer to share leave with other employees so all leaves and sick time can support each other.

The leave provisions are healthy and roll over at higher rates than most private corporations.

Well done to this panel team it was insightful and interesting.

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