When Congress created FMLA leave in 1993, their aim was to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them unpaid time off, with job protection, to deal with their family and medical issues. However, some employees in Iowa take advantage of this leave for their reasons besides what it was designed for. If you fear that your employees might do so, here are some ways you can avoid FMLA problems.
How FMLA fraud affects you
When hiring people to work at your company, you only hire the exact number of employees you need, meaning if everyone is present, the job gets done well without burnout or any other issues. When an employee takes a leave, however, you will be forced to get someone else to take their place or encourage your other employees to do extra work to make up for the one at home.
This not only puts your business in a financial drain but also exerts extra strain on other workers. Realizing that your staff abused their FMLA will definitely make you angry and could interfere with the morale of other employees. But before you take any action against them, you should learn about employment law to avoid legal pitfalls.
Stopping FMLA abuse
You need paperwork. First of all, ask for a written leave request signed by the employee and passed through your HR department. Next, you need medical certification form signed by a licensed doctor showing how serious the condition is. You can always ask for recertification at any time if you suspect abuse.
Communicate with your employees. When you suspect that an employee committed FMLA fraud, you can bring them in for an interview. You can ask them about their whereabouts and any other information that seems conflicting. Other employees might also be aware of someone else’s misdeeds.
Investigate the employee whom you suspect to have abused their FMLA leave. Remember to keep an open mind and act rationally when finding facts. You can even hire third-party surveillance to do the investigation for you.
Tread carefully when firing an employee for FMLA fraud. If they can prove their innocence, they might sue you for interfering with their rights.