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3 min read

FMLA: Common Mistakes to Avoid

The Family and Medical Leave Act (or FMLA) is a crucial piece of federal legislation that protects the rights of workers whenever they need to take extended periods away from work due to health or family reasons. While this may seem somewhat straightforward, many companies are unsure of the finer details of the law or simply lack an internal policy for it altogether! In this brief guide, we’ll go over some common, yet avoidable mistakes that businesses make regarding FMLA rules and their eligible employees. Contact Horizon today for more information! 

What is FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Act, commonly referred to as FMLA, serves as a set of laws outlining protections for employees navigating personal and medical challenges. Instituted in 1993, this federal law has since been a cornerstone in fostering a balanced and protected work-life ecosystem for many Americans. 

Companies with 50 Employees are Required to Offer Leave

As a main part of the law’s legislation, if your business employs 50 or more people, your company will fall under FMLA obligations. This means that your company is legally obligated to grant up to 12 weeks (about 3 months) of unpaid, intermittent leave within a 12-month period to qualified employees if they need it! Such leave can be sought for various family or medical reasons: the birth or adoption of a child, recuperating from a severe health condition, or caring for a close family member who may be ill. Upon the end of their leave, the employee may come back to serve in the same, or an equivalent role with no repercussions. 

Managers Must Comply with FMLA Laws

The responsibility of ensuring compliance doesn't just rest with HR departments; it cascades down to team leads as well. It's vital for company leaders and HR managers to understand the stipulations of FMLA rights thoroughly. Failing to comply can lead to substantial legal troubles and strained employee relations in the workplace. 


What are Some Common FMLA Mistakes to Avoid?

Below, we will address some of the most common mistakes that businesses can make regarding FMLA violations. Contact our professional team at Horizon today with any further questions! 

1) Lacking a Company FMLA Policy

Without a clear, well-structured FMLA policy in place, organizations risk putting themselves into legal troubles and ambiguities. Every eligible company should have a well-documented FMLA policy, outlining an employee’s right to family or medical leave. This ensures uniformity in decisions and helps prevent misunderstandings when such leave needs to occur for an employee.  

Not Follow Employee Notice Requirements

Under the FMLA legislation, employees need to be given proper notice about their leave rights by their employers. Businesses that fail to do so might find themselves non-compliant and vulnerable to legal trouble. Displaying FMLA posters and incorporating FMLA clauses in employee handbooks can be effective in fulfilling this requirement. 

2) Incorrectly Determining Employee Eligibility

An oversight in assessing an employee's FMLA eligibility can be detrimental for your company. Remember, an employee's eligibility hinges on factors like their tenure (a minimum of 12 months) and the number of hours worked (at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months). 

Waiting for Leave Requests from Employees

Reactive approaches seldom bear fruit. Employers shouldn't wait for employees to request FMLA time. Instead, if it's apparent that an employee's situation might warrant a FMLA request, the employer should proactively provide information and necessary documentation, rather than passively waiting for formal requests. 

3) Disciplining Employees for FMLA Absences

Perhaps the main cornerstone of the legislation is that employees are legally protected from retribution or penalties for taking FMLA leave. Once they return to your company, they have a right to be reinstated to their previous position without retribution!

Reinstatement Issues Upon Return

As stated above, the end of an FMLA leave isn't the end of an employer's responsibility. Employees are entitled to be reintegrated, either to their previous position or one of equivalent stature and pay. Falling short here can spell compliance and major legal troubles. 


Horizon: Your Trusted Compliance Partner

Ensuring compliance with labor laws, including FMLA regulations, can be a challenging task for many companies. This is where Horizon comes in as a trusted partner for businesses across the country! Our professional team can ensure that your company stays compliant with all regulations and best practices, including those for taxes, HR policies, payroll, hiring, and more.  

Top-Rated Solutions for Payroll, HR, and More

Armed with cutting-edge tools and industry expertise, Horizon has spent the last two decades dedicated to streamlining payroll, HR, and compliance processes for companies of all kinds, ensuring their legal and financial stability. We are proud to offer trusted services for nearly all business processes; from payroll to hiring, onboarding, time tracking, benefits administration, and more. You can read more about these top-rated solutions here! 


Contact Us Today for More Information

If you need guidance on FMLA compliance or any other HR-related concern, don't hesitate to reach out! Our team of professionals is ready to assist you, ensuring compliance for your company for years to come. Contact us today! 

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