Most employers in Massachusetts want to do the right thing for their employees. But when it comes to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), knowing what that is can be tricky. Disputes between employers and employees over FMLA leave are all too common. That’s why it’s important for both parties to understand their rights and responsibilities under the law. As an employer, you can do a few different things.
1. Keep good records
Good record keeping entails more than just keeping track of employee absences. Employers should also keep records of the reason for each absence, whether it was pre-approved or not and how much leave was taken. This information will be crucial if there is ever a dispute over an employee’s FMLA leave.
2. Communicate with employees
Employees need to know their rights and responsibilities under the FMLA. They should also be aware of the company’s policies and procedures regarding FMLA leave. Communication between employer and employee can help avoid misunderstandings and potential disputes down the road.
3. Write an FMLA policy and notify employees about their rights
According to employment law in Massachusetts, employers must notify employees of their rights under the FMLA. This includes informing them of how to request leave, what types of leave are available and how the leave will affect their job and benefits.
4. Train supervisors on how to handle employee requests for leave
Many disputes arise because supervisors are not properly trained in handling employee requests for FMLA leave. As a result, they may deny leave when it should be approved or vice versa. However, if they know what they need to do under the law, the chances of disputes or litigations in your company can be greatly reduced.
5. Don’t make exceptions
As an employer, your system of allowing or giving FMLA leave must be consistent. You cannot make an exception for one employee and remain strict for others. If you do, this can be used against you in a dispute.
Navigating FMLA can seem challenging, but it’s necessary to avoid costly disputes that can greatly affect business. For instance, if an employee files a lawsuit and wins, your company may get a bad reputation on top of the steep fines and penalties. By following these tips, you can help avoid any potential FMLA disputes.