The Family and Medical Leave Act allows eligible employees to take time off for specific family or medical reasons without the risk of losing their jobs.
However, when it comes to adhering to the FMLA in Virginia, many businesses often find themselves making unintended mistakes that can have serious consequences.
1. Misinterpreting employee eligibility
Businesses often stumble when determining employee eligibility. It is important to know that not all employees qualify for FMLA leave. To qualify, employees must have worked for the company for at least 12 months and accrued a minimum of 1,250 hours during that period.
2. Inadequate record-keeping
Another common pitfall is failing to maintain proper FMLA records. Keep detailed records of all requests for leave under FMLA, as well as the leave granted, including the reasons for the leave and the duration. In Virginia, businesses must preserve these records for at least three years. Poor record-keeping can lead to disputes and potential legal complications.
3. Lack of communication
Effective communication is important when dealing with FMLA requests. Employers should inform employees about their rights and responsibilities under the FMLA. Failure to provide this information can lead to misunderstandings and missed deadlines.
Furthermore, maintain open communication throughout the leave period. Employers should stay in touch with employees on leave, keep them updated on any changes in their roles or responsibilities and maintain a supportive atmosphere. This helps employees feel valued and connected to the workplace, reducing potential problems when they return.
The U.S. Department of Labor had 780 FMLA complaints in 2022. By understanding and avoiding these common errors, you can avoid extra hassles and ensure a smoother and more effective system for both your business and your employees.