While most FMLA processes are handled by a trained member of the HR department, have you thought about the impact that supervisors may have on your FMLA qualifying employees? Some of the most common FMLA violations could occur without HR ever being a part of the decision or process. Take a quick look at the some of the most common cited FMLA violations:
- Failure to notify employee of FMLA rights. Have your supervisors or department leaders been trained on when an employee would qualify for FMLA? If not, you’re at risk of never being notified that an employee may qualify; preventing you from even beginning the process.
- Failure to notify employee that leave counted towards 12 week FMLA entitlement. Do your supervisors understand what time does and does not count towards the allotted leave for an employee on FMLA? Making sure they are aware and can provide documented reminders to employees can save a lot of confusion and potential violations down the road. This can be especially important when an intermittent or reduced schedule FMLA leave is taking place.
- Counting FMLA leave against the firm’s absentee policy for disciplinary purposes. Do supervisors in your facility address attendance concerns without discussing it with HR first? If so, providing them with clear guidelines and instructions can prevent violations of this rule.
- Taking disciplinary action against an employee for using FMLA. Whether being short staffed, working overtime, or other disruptions to the workplace have frustrated a supervisor, it is imperative that they do not take disciplinary action against an employee for using approved FMLA. Work with your supervisory team to provide solutions, options, and ideas to ease the frustration and additional work load on the rest of the team.
- Failure to grant leave to provide physical care or psychological comfort to a seriously ill parent. Be sure to remind your supervisory team that FMLA doesn’t just apply to the employee themselves, but may include parents and children. Understanding what circumstances that may warrant beginning the FMLA process can quickly avoid an FMLA violation.
- Failure to reinstate employee to same or equivalent position, including same shift. Understandably, supervisors may need to make changes to their team in order to adequately staff their department during an employee’s absence. Work with your supervisors ahead of time to make sure they are aware of the employee’s rights when returning to work. This may prevent undue issues when arranging and rearranging staff.
Understandably, departments may experience larger workloads, more overtime hours, productivity decreases, and other hardships when an employee is off of work for an extended period of time. Providing additional support and leadership to supervisors and managers who are experiencing a period where they have a staff member missing, can help prevent added frustrations, FMLA violations, and a negative impact of morale in the workplace. Here are a few quick ways to support supervisors and managers before, during, and after an FMLA leave:
- Provide ongoing education on FMLA regulations, processes, and procedures.
- Work with other supervisors to assist in cross training other employees to assist in covering duties while one area is short staffed.
- Consider hiring a temporary employee to ease the burden of the increased workload.
- Keep the lines of communication open between HR and the supervisor. Often times an employee will communicate updates to a supervisor who may not realize the information needs to be reported, certified, or requires further action.
- Remind supervisors not to disclose confidential information with anyone other than necessary privacy officials. In addition, frustrations regarding any additional hardships should not be communicated to other employees.
Eligible employees are entitled to FMLA leave and should not experience undue negativity from supervisors, co-workers, or others in the workplace. Providing clear and concise procedures with all members of your management team can greatly reduce the risk of FMLA violations, HIPPA violations, and other issues in the workplace.
Want to learn more about how you can gain access to Trillium’s national network of top level talent? Contact us today! If you are a stand out in your profession and seeking contingent or long term career opportunities, visit our job seekers section for more information!
Trillium, a national leader in staffing and recruitment is a valued staffing partner to over 5,000 companies nationwide. Trillium is privately owned by Oskar René Poch.