Suspected FMLA leave abuse top HR concern

Employee abuse of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is the top concern for human resource professionals regarding the law, according to a WorldatWork survey earlier this year.

WorldatWork administered the survey in response to the Department of Labor’s proposed changes to the FMLA regulations. The proposed changes are aimed at resolving tough issues employers face when administering the law.

Under FMLA, employers must provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave during a 12 month period. Reasons for FMLA leave include the birth or adoption of a child, caring for a seriously ill immediate family member or for the employee’s own serious illness.

Of 450 human resource professionals surveyed:
  • 42% said the potential for or suspicion of abuse by employees causes “extreme difficulty” in administering intermittent FMLA leave.
  • 38% reported inadequate notification prior to an absence.
  • 28% reported difficulties tracking intermittent leave.

When asked what changes to the FMLA they support:
  • 72% strongly agree with requiring workers to notify employers in advance of taking non-emergency, foreseeable leave.
  • 61% strongly agree with requiring annual medical certification from employers when conditions last more than one year.
  • 60% strongly agree with requiring a fitness-for-duty certificate after return from intermittent leave to jobs that could endanger the employee or others, or that the worker may be unable to perform.

A full copy of the survey is available at

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