How to Curb FMLA Abuse
- Step 1: Train supervisors on how the FMLA and your leave policies work, and on potential FMLA abuses.
- Step 2: Maintain accurate records of FMLA use and absences.
- Step 3: Take advantage of the policy options available under the FMLA to adopt policies that protect against FMLA abuse.
- Step 4: Make effective use of the FMLA's employee notice requirements and of call-in policies, communicate directly with employees to get the reasons for why FMLA leave is necessary, and then get the reasons in writing.
- Step 5: Make effective use of initial medical certifications.
- Step 6: Make use of information available through the workers' compensation system or a paid leave policy.
- Step 7: Make effective use of recertifications or (in the case of long-term periods of intermittent leave or reduced work schedule leave) new certifications.
- Step 8: Engage in effective leave oversight.
- Step 9: Require fitness-for-duty certifications for employees returning to work.
- Step 10: Be careful with information received from other employees and/or social media.
- Additional Resources
Author: Barton A. Bixenstine, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP
The FMLA places a variety of restrictions on employers that limit their ability to curb FMLA abuse. Nevertheless, there are a variety of steps employers can take, consistent with the restrictions of the FMLA, for curbing abuse of FMLA leave.
Not all of these steps need to be taken in every situation - each situation must be addressed on its own facts, since some entitlements to FMLA are obvious and raise few risks of abuse, while others require more careful attention and controls.