Family Medical Leave Act-Is it working for all Employees and Employers???
In 1993, President Bill Clinton established the Family Medical Leave Act which allows certain employees up to 12 weeks unpaid, job protected leave for a year. The Act was designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing the employee to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family members and medical reasons. This could include a husband or wife to take time off to care for a new infant or adopted child. It could include a man or woman needing time off to care for a loved one, like a child, parent, or themselves. FMLA applies to all public agencies, all public and private schools, and companies with 50 or more employees. There are still uncertainties around FMLA and whether it’s being abused by some and needed by others. For example, an employee who needs time off for maternity leave but is only a part-time worker is not covered under FMLA. This employee is not guaranteed their position back after they take a leave of absence unless they meet the required hours of work and their company is covered under FMLA. Another employee who works full time and wants time off for Christmas and New Years but uses the FMLA to cover the days off as sick time, is misusing the act as a form of holiday pay. Comparing the two situations, one is needed more than the other. The first one might not be able to take off the recommended 6 weeks for maternity leave just because they are a part-time employee. In the second situation, the employee is abusing the system because they want time off for holiday and it’s not really a medical problem. I’m going to be looking at the pros and cons’s of FMLA and establish whether this Act is something that should continue with most companies with no changes or if the Act needs to be enhanced so that it better serves full time and part time employees and all employers. The first thing to discuss is the criteria that must be met by the employer and employee under FMLA. For the employer, the following must be met in order for their company to be covered by FMLA; the employer has to let the employee know if they are covered under FMLA. The employer also has to give reasons to why they are not covered in case the employee has questions pertaining to FMLA. This might affect the type of employees that the employer can recruit because most employees would want to make sure they have plenty of time off for emergencies. The employer needs to post the Employee Rights and Responsibilities under the Family Medical Leave Act guide poster in a visible place within the buildings of the company, business, or institution. The employer has to explain FMLA and other relevant company policies to the employees which happen normally during orientation. The Employer needs to provide health benefits and other benefits that would be given, as it is to people on disability. This includes health insurance for the family of the employee. The last thing the employer has to do for their employees under FMLA is keep the employees job for up to 12 weeks. If the position had to be filled while the employee is on leave, then the same position with the same pay and same level will be given to the employee upon their return.
So what can a company do to limit the abuse of FMLA from an employee? Leave can generally be taken for a serious illness, but groups wanting the law changed say people with minor health problems, such as a broken toe or a cold, are claiming they should get time off. The groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, want a more precise description of what would qualify as a serious illness. One suggestion is that the law only covers illnesses serious enough to require 10 or more days off. But supporters of the current law say abuse is rare. They fear that efforts to redefine what qualifies as a serious illness could go too far,...
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