FMLA Policy
Posted: 15 January 2009 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Here is our current sample FMLA policy.  Comments?  Notice requirements take effect tomorrow.

Family Medical Leave of Absence (FMLA)
The Company is required to comply with the Federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993.  This section is considered a supplemental to the employee’s rights under FMLA (which are included in Appendix FMLA).  The Company reserves the right to designate FMLA leave as needed to any eligible employee and to require employees to use first all available paid time off as qualifying FMLA time toward the 12 week limit.  The FMLA entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of paid or unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period based on the employee’s anniversary hire date for:

•  The birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care.

•  To care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition.

•  To take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of his/her own serious health condition.

Eligible Employees:
To be eligible for FMLA, an employee must have worked for the Company for at least one year and have completed 1,250 hours over the 12 months prior to the commencement of the leave.  The 12-month period during which an eligible employee may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave will be calculated using the eligible employee’s service anniversary date.

Procedure:
•  An eligible employee who wishes to take FMLA must provide his/her supervisor with 30 days advance notice when the leave is foreseeable.  At the time of the request, the employee may complete a “Family Medical Leave Information/Request Form”.  Once FMLA is requested or designated by the Company, the employee will receive an information packet containing the full policy, forms, rights and duties of the FMLA for both the employee and the Company. 

•  In most cases, the eligible employee must submit medical certification to support a request for leave.  Health and dental benefits will continue during the FMLA provided the employee makes his/her regular, monthly contributions to the plan. Failure to pay premiums may result in lapse of coverage.  Contact the Benefits Department for specific details on continuing benefits while on leave.

•  Employees returning from FMLA within the 12 week period will be restored to their original job, or to an equivalent job with equivalent pay and benefits.

•  Employees returning from a medical FMLA may be required to present medical certification of fitness for duty.  Failure to provide a medical certificate of fitness for duty may result in a denial of job reinstatement until medical certificate release is provided.

•  FMLA may be taken in increments as small as one hour.

•  Employees may not earn additional paid time off while on FMLA. 

Contact human resources for the complete policy on the Family and Medical Leave Act and for a full explanation of your rights.  FMLA will always begin with paid time off until all available paid time is used.  After exhausting paid FMLA leave, non-paid FMLA leave will continue until the conclusion of the protected 12 week time limit.  Following the conclusion of protected leave, the employer will decide whether non-FMLA leave should apply.
 
The medical Certification of Health Care Provider serves as a “doctor note” to certify the reason and expected duration of the extended medical leave in writing. All requests for medical leaves must be accompanied by a doctor’s statement verifying your total disability and your estimated date of return to work.  Further, the Company requires written medical verification of your ability to resume work and a list of restrictions that would directly relate to your ability to perform your job.

Servicemember FMLA Leave
In 2008, the FMLA was amended and now entitles eligible employees to take leave for a covered family member’s service in the Armed Forces.

Leave Eligibility and Duration
Eligible employees may take Servicemember leave for either (or both) of the following reasons:

•  A “qualifying exigency” arising out of a covered family member’s active duty or call to active duty in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation

Leave Duration: Up to 12 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period

•  To care for a covered family member (“next of kin”) who has incurred an injury or illness in the line of duty while on active duty in the Armed Forces provided that such injury or illness may render the family member medically unfit to perform duties of the member’s office, grade, rank or rating.

Leave Duration: Up to 26 workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period. (Leave may not exceed 26 weeks in a single 12-month period when it is combined with other FMLA-qualifying leave).

Important
Servicemember FMLA runs concurrent with other leave entitlements provided
under federal, state and local law.

[ Edited: 15 January 2009 12:46 PM by Patrick Della Valle ]
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Patrick Della Valle
Employment Law Information Network
P.O. Box 45
Chinchilla, PA 18411

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Posted: 15 January 2009 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The new FMLA regulations require employers who have handbooks or personnel policies to include an FMLA policy.  But unlike in previous years, the regulations now clearly specify that any policy MUST include, at a minimum, all of the provisions that are in the DOL’s FMLA poster.  In most instances, this will require a complete retooling of the policy or, as the regulations allow, simply copying and using the FMLA poster requirements as your new FMLA policy.

Your current policy draft, while accurate in what it provides, does not fully comply with the new FMLA regulations.

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Posted: 15 January 2009 12:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Your policy is well written and easy to understand.

Could you put a paragraph that says including all federal mandated coverage listed on the enclosed attachment and make a copy of the FMLA poster and put it as an attachement? I don’t know why that would not work.

Also I have a question. It says that paid leave is not accrued while on FMLA. Is that the same for all leave from the company? I hope so because FMLA should not be treated differently from any other leave of absence while accruing for paid time off.

Shirley

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Posted: 15 January 2009 12:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Kevin:

It’s probably a good idea, but I’m not sure the regs require that the FMLA policy in the handbook include all of the notice’s provisions, so long as you either attach and reference the poster in the handbook, distriubute the notice in other benefit materials or hand it out to new hires:

§ 825.300 Employer notice requirements.

(a) General notice.

(1) Every employer covered by the FMLA is required to post and keep posted on its premises, in conspicuous places where employees are employed, a notice explaining the Act’s provisions and providing information concerning the procedures for filing complaints of violations of the Act with the Wage and Hour Division. The notice must be posted prominently where it can be readily seen by employees and applicants for employment. The poster and the text must be large enough to be easily read and contain fully legible text. Electronic posting is sufficient to meet this posting requirement as long as it otherwise meets the requirements of this section. An employer that willfully violates the posting requirement may be assessed a civil money penalty by the Wage and Hour Division not to exceed $110 for each separate offense.

(2) Covered employers must post this general notice even if no employees are eligible for FMLA leave.

(3) If an FMLA-covered employer has any eligible employees, it shall also provide this general notice to each employee by including the notice in employee handbooks or other written guidance to employees concerning employee benefits or leave rights, if such written materials exist, or by distributing a copy of the general notice to each new employee upon hiring. In either case, distribution may be accomplished electronically.  (Emphasis added)

(4) To meet the requirements of paragraph (a)(3) of this section, employers may duplicate the text of the notice contained in Appendix C of this part or may use another format so long as the information provided includes, at a minimum, all of the information contained in that notice. Where an employer’s workforce is comprised of a significant portion of workers who are not literate in English, the employer shall provide the general notice in a language in which the employees are literate. Prototypes are available from the nearest office of the Wage and Hour Division or on the Internet at http://www.wagehour.dol.gov Emplo.yers furnishing FMLA notices to sensoryimpaired individuals must also comply with all applicable requirements under Federal or State law.

[ Edited: 16 January 2009 10:17 AM by Patrick Della Valle ]
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Patrick Della Valle
Employment Law Information Network
P.O. Box 45
Chinchilla, PA 18411

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