Legal disputes about FMLA, or the Family Medical Leave Act, are among the top complaints that businesses must deal with. If you are employer that is legally bound by FMLA, one of the best ways to defend yourself in court is to have a very solid and clear policy along with strict record keeping. It is critical to be prepared if an employee is likely to bring an FMLA lawsuit against the company. The following are some tips to help you create a firm FMLA policy:

Creating a FMLA Policy

The first step in defending yourself in an FMLA lawsuit is to provide a solid policy on FMLA use. It should clearly outline the law and include all provisions regarding medical leave as stated by the federal government. Your policy should include several provisions so that your company is fully covered.

General Provisions

The general provisions should include all general information about FMLA, including the timeframes in which companies are allowed to be absent from work per year. It should also state whether or not the company will pay the time off, if vacation or sick time will be used, or if any disability compensation will be utilized. Under federal law, FMLA is unpaid leave, but a company has the right to offer compensation if it sees fit based on the circumstances of the leave.

Eligibility Section

There should also be provisions for eligibility. This section will include detailed information on who is eligible to take family medical leave and the conditions that must be met. The conditions can include the amount of time the employee has worked for the company as well as any special accommodations for military employees. The eligibility is also largely based on the size of a company and how many are employed. In addition, you should also address the number of hours the employee must have worked previously in order to receive FMLA leave.

Additional Sections

Other sections in your policy should include the type of leave that is requested. Each employee requesting leave must have an approved reason. This can include giving birth to a child and time to recover or adopting a child and time off for bonding. It is also used for caring for a spouse that is dealing with an extended medical condition as well as time off for an employee going through serious medical issues. FMLA is also granted for those who are serving in the military and will be deployed or sent away on official military business.

You can also include additional sections in your FMLA policy, including the status of the employee after the leave ends, procedures for requesting FMLA leave, and the intent to return once the time for FMLA is exhausted. To stay on the safe side, consult with a family law attorney