By Rachel Shaw
Excessive and fraudulent leave matters are some of the most challenging for employers to manage. On the 20th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor asserted that “The FMLA is working.” Frankly, I found this announcement naïve, since there’s a lot that isn’t working with the FMLA.
The truth is the FMLA’s impact on the American employer is significant. As written, the FMLA fosters misuse by employees who struggle to maintain regular and reliable attendance. In fact, a 2014 survey of executive employers found that 69 percent were concerned about FMLA abuse within their organizations.
Please don’t misunderstand me! I believe that the FMLA is a necessary and important law. However, misuse of FMLA leave threatens its integrity and undermines its intent—to provide job-protected leave for those in need, for defined periods of time. FMLA needs to be protected so it may serve the people it’s intended to assist: those who need to bridge the gap between medical incapacity, childbirth, parental leave, kin care, military leave, and safe and full return to work.
The FMLA was never intended to support permanent part-timers in receiving the benefits of a full-time worker. Nor was it intended to protect the jobs of employees who are too disabled to ever return to work full time. Finally, the FMLA was never intended to protect those who use it to lengthen weekends or as an excuse for poor attendance patterns.
Ultimately, we need a legislative solution in order to really fix the issues brought on by FMLA intermittent and forever-use issues. Until then, there are ways you can assist your organization to better manage some of the most difficult leave management issues facing human resources professionals today.
Read the whole article here.
See Rachel train on how to combat FMLA and other leave misuses on March 10th at HR West 2020 in Oakland, California.
 Littler Mendelson. Littler Mendelson Executive Employer Survey Report, 2014. http://www.littler.com/files/2014_Littler_Executive_Employer_Survey.pdf