7:30 a.m.–8:30 a.m.
Part I: Mastering FMLA Fundamentals
FMLA Eligibility: Granting FMLA Leave When It’s Due and Getting It Right under the New FMLA Rules
8:30 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
Oftentimes employers neglect to take the critical first step in administering FMLA leave—determining employee eligibility. Taking defined, consistent steps in determining employee eligibility helps employers not only properly deny leave when appropriate, but also to grant leave for a period of time that is reasonable and necessary. Eligibility for FMLA leave to care for covered family members has changed dramatically as the definition of who is a family member has been altered by FMLA regulations, new court decisions, and changes in the family structure.
In this opening session, we’ll explain these developments and how to adjust your policies and practices to ensure compliance with the changing regulatory and legal landscape. You’ll learn:
- How to determine FMLA eligibility quickly and easily
- How the FMLA rules and recent court decisions define who qualifies as a covered spouse
- Caring for adult children
- Determining in loco parentis status
- How to coordinate state and federal leave when covered family members differ
Managing Serious Health Conditions and Medical Certifications
9:00 a.m.–9:45 a.m.
At the heart of many FMLA leave requests is the serious health condition. FMLA regulations offer guidance and allow you to require medical certification, but there are a multitude of possible reasons for needing FMLA leave. Assessing the information requires keen judgment, and this session will show you how to make these crucial calls. You’ll learn about:
- Illnesses and injuries that may be serious health conditions even though the regulations say they generally aren’t
- How many health conditions it takes to be “serious”
- How often your employee needs to see a healthcare provider
- What to do if a medical certification is incomplete or unclear
- Your options if an employee or doctor doesn’t cooperate with obtaining the required certifications
- When you may require employees to provide recertification of a serious health condition
- The “do’s and don’ts” of return-to-work certifications
9:45 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
Meeting FMLA Deadlines: Notification, Curbing Abuse, and Preventing Claims
10:00 a.m.–10:45 a.m.
FMLA is ruled by deadlines for giving and receiving information, for measuring how much leave has been taken, and determining how much employees still have remaining in a given FMLA leave year. A good grasp of timing rules—and learning how to monitor other key areas of FMLA usage—can help you prevent abuse of FMLA entitlements and fend off litigation. This session covers:
- How to give the four kinds of FMLA notices—on time and on point
- What to do if an employee refuses FMLA designation
- Selecting the best type of FMLA leave year for your organization
- Counting holidays that fall during leave
- Rules regarding “making up” FMLA leave
- Handling suspected FMLA abuse without running afoul of the FMLA
- How to legally terminate employees who are on or just returned from FMLA leave
Mastering the Tough FMLA Issues
10:45 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
It’s one thing to grasp individual FMLA rules and another to put the pieces together in the real world. Intermittent leave seems pretty straightforward on paper, but how employers really manage it is another story. How is intermittent leave certified and calculated? What about temporary light-duty positions and fluctuating work schedules? Reinstatement after leave? And finally, how to handle a FMLA investigation by DOL. This session will help you learn about:
- Managing intermittent and reduced schedule leave
- Managing leave duration
- Calculating leave for fluctuating work schedules
- Determining leave rights when spouses work for the same company
- The rules regarding substitution of various different types of paid leave for FMLA leave
- When employees have job reinstatement rights and when they do not
- Tips on how to effectively manage a FMLA investigation by the DOL
All Together Now: Coordinating FMLA with ADA, Workers’ Comp, and State Family Leave Laws
11:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
FMLA seems pretty comprehensive, but it’s not the only law that applies when employees need time off for their own serious health condition, to care for a family member, or for other reasons. You need to know when other laws create different obligations—and how their requirements work in tandem with FMLA.
- Why FMLA serious health conditions are more likely to qualify as disabilities under the ADAAA
- When you should offer leave as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, including a discussion of new ADA leave cases
- How to offer accommodations other than leave without violating the FMLA
- When you can follow workers’ compensation rules on FMLA information gathering
- When you can require employees to take FMLA leave concurrently with workers’ comp leave
- The interaction of FMLA with USERRA, GINA, COBRA, and other federal laws
12:15 p.m.–1:15 p.m.
Part II: Intensive Workshop Addressing the Real-Life Application of FMLA Rules, DOL Regulations, and Court Rulings
1:15 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
During this highly interactive portion of the FMLA Master Class, our esteemed faculty of labor and employment attorneys will walk you through a series of scenarios demonstrating the real-life FMLA issues that stump even the most seasoned of HR practitioners. You’ll have the opportunity to discuss issues with your trainers and fellow attendees to determine the correct course of action to take, based on the facts presented and your knowledge of fundamental FMLA compliance principles.
Recent court rulings, long-standing case law precedent, DOL interpretation opinion letters and regulations—as well as the trainers’ own experiences in advising clients—are interwoven into this engaging afternoon workshop with the goal of providing you with actionable insights into how to master the tricky FMLA issues that come up in daily work life.
You’ll dive deep into:
- Addressing issues with medical certifications and what to do when:
- Certification submitted by employee is not sufficient
- Employee does not return the certification
- Employee refuses to update the certification if need for leave changes
- Employee does not submit fitness-for-duty certification at end of leave
- Intermittent leave
- Certification of need for intermittent leave
- Specific information on when leave is needed, expected frequency and duration
- What to do if an employee uses more leave than expected
- Abuse of intermittent leave (Mondays and Fridays, before and after holidays)
- Reduced schedule leave
- Certification and specific information on reduced hours, expected duration
- Updating certification
- Tracking leave time
- Addressing performance issues that arise prior to the request for leave
- What to do when an employee requests FMLA leave in the midst of the disciplinary process or just before discipline or termination steps are taken
- Addressing performance issues that arise during intermittent or reduced schedule leave
- Addressing performance issues discovered while an employee is on leave
- Reductions in force while employee is on FMLA leave
- Return to work—what to do if an employee is:
- Not able to return to work at end of leave (ADA considerations)
- Cleared to return to work with restrictions
- Temporarily unable to perform essential functions
- Unable to perform essential functions in the long-term
Final Questions and Closing
4:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
Have lingering questions about points raised during this intensive FMLA hypo-driven workshop or want to revisit a fundamental concept or two from earlier in the day? Take advantage of this opportunity to get clarification from the attorneys before you wrap up for the day.