Don’t Call in Employees During FMLA Time Off

November 22, 2017 • April Mabry

A common mistake human resources administrators and managers make is asking employees on Family and Medical Leave (FML) leave to report to work.

From workplace investigations to promotion discussions, there are a variety of reasons employers may want to bring in an employee on FML to work. However, requiring employees to work during FML would interfere with the leave and is not permissible.

Reasonable, limited contact with an employee about work-related matters is permitted. Court cases regarding contact with an employee during FML suggest that a district follow these guidelines:

  • Contacts should be limited (in duration and number) and restricted to the scope of passing on institutional knowledge to new staff or providing closure on completed assignments.
  • Contacts should be scheduled so as not to interfere with the purpose of leave. If for example, an employee takes leave to care for a family member, the employee should not be required to interrupt care duties to respond to telephone calls.
  • The employee should not be expected or required to produce work (e.g., grading papers and lesson planning) during FML unless the employee consents to light duty as described by Family and Medical Leave Act regulations.

For detailed information on FMLA procedures, visit the Leaves section of the HR Library.

Tagged: FMLA