As part of the Family and Medical Leave Act’s 20th anniversary, the U.S. Department of Labor recently released the results of a survey on its use and impact. The results show the generally positive impact the FMLA has had on workers. The survey also highlights several aspects where the FMLA is being misapplied by employers. Among them include:
- No Fault Attendance Policies. Many employers reported still using no-fault attendance policies – policies that treat all employee absences the same regardless of the reason – without providing exceptions for FMLA leave. FMLA-related absences should be excused and may not be used against employees in performance evaluations.
- Asking Employees on Leave to Perform Work. The survey revealed that when an employee is on leave, the most common method for covering the work is to assign it to other employees. However, while employees are on longer leaves, 70.5% of employees were asked to perform some work while on leave. This practice is likely in violation of FMLA’s prohibition from interfering with employees while on leave.
- Pressuring Employees to Return. Under the FMLA, employers are not allowed to pressure employees to return to work. However, the survey shows that 12.4% of eligible employees reported such pressure as a reason why they returned.
The full report may be viewed at Family and Medical Leave in 2012.
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