FMLA Compliance for Human Resources
Complying with the Family and Medical Leave Act
The administration of the complex Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can be difficult for a generalist to decipher. Safeguard your company, reduce expenses, limit risk, and put a cap on employee workload by outsourcing FMLA compliance efforts.
Sometimes life requires more attention than your job. The intention of the FMLA is to help employees balance their workplace demands with their personal needs. As a federal law, the FMLA requires covered employers to provide employees with a certain type of coverage should a medical or family emergency arise.
Conditions in Which the FMLA Applies
There are many situations in which the FMLA can apply for one of your employees. Some of the most common reasons for invoking the FMLA long-term or intermittently as needed include:
- Pregnancy complications or bed rest.
- Caring for a newborn.
- Bonding with an adopted or foster child.
- Serious health condition for the employee or their spouse, child, or parent.
- Family military leave.
Eligibility for FMLA Leave
To be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must fit under certain designations, including:
- Having worked at the business for at least 12 months.
- Working at least 1,250 hours over the past year.
- Working at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles of their job.
Continued Benefits During FMLA Leave
Job-protected leave is not the only benefit for employees when they are managing the stress of a personal or family emergency. Other benefits include:
- Up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period.
- The opportunity to have their same job when they return to work or, a job that is equal in responsibilities, pay, and benefits.
- Group health insurance benefits.
- Protection of employee benefits.
- No retaliation for exercising the right to invoke the FMLA.
One of the most common misconceptions about the FMLA is that employers are required to provide employees with paid leave. Monetary compensation is not a federal regulation during leave, though some companies may choose to compensate their employees in some way while they are away from their job.
Determining When the FMLA Applies
While the conditions, eligibility, and benefits of the FMLA may seem simple enough to understand as outlined above, do not be misled. There are shades of grey where every federal regulation is concerned. Trusting a human resources professional to do the necessary work where compliance is concerned could ultimately be very costly.
It is important to know the details of FMLA so that questions about employer coverage and employee eligibility for FMLA leave are clear and can be proven. For examples, a "covered employer" includes a company that employed 50 or more employees during 20 weeks of the current or preceding calendar year; public agencies; and public or private elementary or secondary schools.
Avoid FMLA Non-Compliance
The FMLA costs employers hundreds if not thousands of dollars in increased labor costs, lost worker productivity, and continued health care benefits. The time-consuming and complicated nature of FMLA administration can be streamlined so that compliance is guaranteed.
If you outsource the workload that comes along with FMLA paperwork and regulations, you reduce your company's liability and avoid non-compliance or violations of the law. Other benefits of outsourcing FMLA compliance to an FMLA authority include:
- Centralizing FMLA administration to one location, a key benefit that is especially attractive to companies that have multiple locations.
- Securing protected health information.
- Reducing employee abuse of FMLA.
- Eliminating the potential of FMLA administrative errors such as neglecting to request recertification for ongoing intermittent leave.
- Removing the personal nature of FMLA administration for the familiar in-house human resources staff.
- Minimizing the administrative burden of FMLA requirements for on-staff human resources professionals.
- Seeing a return on your investment when you discover that FMLA outsourcing costs are lower than a full-time HR generalist.
- Consistent and reliable FMLA program administration, including documentation of all communications, 24/7 online FMLA activity reports, immediate denial notification, access to trained and experienced employee benefits professionals, and more.
- Ongoing updates and information about new FMLA regulations and legislative changes.
- Specialized FMLA training and education for upper-level staff.
If you are overwhelmed by the bulky requirements of FMLA compliance, contact The Benefits Group to discuss outsourcing your compliance needs. Our FMLA authorities will help you determine employee eligibility, maintain records appropriately, mediate delicate situations, handle FMLA complaints filed by an employee, and so much more.