The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)—along with various similar state-level leave programs—provides valuable job protection for employees. But the administrative burden of increased utilization presents a challenge for businesses in a world where doing more with less is standard operating procedure. That’s why many groups look at outsourcing.
Administering FMLA-supported leaves has become an overwhelming task for many employers. Reduced staff doing more with fewer resources increases the burden of documenting every leave and dealing with the myriad of processes and regulations surrounding them.
Companies that fail to successfully maneuver through this maze are at risk for noncompliance—a potential problem that can extend beyond the organizational level, as individual managers and supervisors can also be held responsible for federal FMLA violations. State-level leave programs, where applicable, present additional concerns.
Quick facts about FMLA
FMLA allows eligible workers to take unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons:
- Serious health conditions that don’t allow the employee to perform the certain essential functions of his or her job
- Birth or adoption of a child, or a newly placed foster child
- Caring for the employee’s spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition
- Qualifying exigencies that arise when the employee’s spouse, son, daughter or parent is a covered military member on active duty
To be eligible for FMLA benefits, an employee must:
- Work for a covered employer
- Have worked for the employer for at least 12 months
- Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately preceding the leave
- Work at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles
Proper administration is a challenge
Employers may feel anxious about FMLA rules. They may be concerned about making common mistakes like failing to notify their employees of their FMLA rights, disciplining an employee for an absence that qualified for FMLA leave, or failing to reinstate an employee to an equivalent position after leave is taken.
Employers who outsource their leave administration can benefit from absence management professionals who have experience with the complexities of all types of leave.
Learn more about navigating family and medical leave by reading our FMLA absence management administration brochure (PDF) >.