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Avoiding FMLA disputes in Massachusetts

On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2021 | Business & Commercial Litigation

In Massachusetts, the law requires employers to allow their employees to take unpaid leave under certain conditions, and when their time-off is over, they have the right to go back to their previous position at work. Disputes usually arise during this time because of some misunderstandings that you can avoid as an employer. Here are some common FMLA issues and how to prevent them.

FMLA in Massachusetts

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that requires an employer to give their employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for:

  • Bonding with a new child
  • Serious health conditions
  • Preparation for a family member joining the army
  • Care for a family member with a serious health condition or who suffered from a severe injury while in the military

Practices that help avoid FMLA disputes

Employment disputes are bound to occur if you or your employees don’t understand FMLA laws and requirements. To improve your chances of avoiding issues that could lead to a lawsuit, try the following tips:

Sick days vs. FMLA

Make your employees understand the difference between sick days and FMLA leave – For you to allow your employee to take FMLA leave, they must be suffering from a serious health condition like cancer and not a disease that can only take days to recover from. While FMLA can last up to 12 weeks, sick leaves can only go for up to 40 hours per year.


Teach your employees about PMLA and how it differs from FMLA – Disputes can arise when Paid Family and Medical Leave (PMLA) is confused with FMLA. You can choose whether or not to give PMLA depending on the employees’ condition or give both of them simultaneously. But you cannot deny either of them if your worker is eligible.

Gather the right documents

Before giving your employee the FMLA leave, ask them to provide certification from relevant authorities, such as a doctor, that supports their need to take this time off. Let them know that they have 15 days to do this to give you enough time to verify.

Meticulously navigate the maze of legal requirements when giving your employees FMLA leave. Following the correct procedure before your employee takes the leave and after can help you avoid disputes.