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Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Forms
Posted on December 20, 2016 by Andrea Shindlebower in Salary and Benefits, FMLA, FSLA

Weekly HR News – FMLA

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Forms

FMLA forms are required for notifying employees of their rights and responsibilities, certification of leave based on the specific request and designating FMLA leave by the employer.  The forms that must be used are located on the Department of Labor (DOL) web page.

For easier reference, here are the links to the current FMLA forms:

In addition to the DOL required forms listed above, many employers have their own additional forms that deal with the employee’s request for FMLA, medical updates and return to work.   

All FMLA forms and information about an employee’s FMLA leave and condition must be kept confidential and separate from other employee files. It is an FMLA violation for an employer to share information about an employee’s FMLA leave with other employees.

For additional questions regarding FMLA or other personnel related matters, contact Personnel Services Specialist, Andrea Shindlebower Main.

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Salary and Benefits while on FMLA
Posted on December 7, 2016 by Andrea Shindlebower in Salary and Benefits, FMLA, FSLA

Weekly HR News – FMLA

Salary and Benefits while on FMLA

In many cases, cities choose to provide unpaid leave while an employee is on FMLA, but may require that an employee use accrued paid leave (i.e. vacation or sick leave) during FMLA leave.  However the city decides to handle, the information must be included within the employee handbook. 

While on FMLA the employer must maintain the employee’s group health insurance at the same level they would if the employee were not on FMLA.  For example, if the employer pays 100% of the employee plan, the employer would continue to do this during leave.  If the employee pays a portion of their health insurance premium, the employee must continue to pay their portion while on leave.  The employer has the option to pay the entire amount during the employee’s absence and recover the employee’s portion when the employee returns to work.  The same is true, if the employer pays 100% of the family plan, the employer would continue to pay 100% of the family plan while the employee is on leave.  (29 C.F.R. § 825.209)

If the employee is responsible for any portion of their premium and fails to pay while out on leave, the employer’s obligation to maintain health insurance will cease once the premium is more than 30 days late.  However, once the employee is reinstated to work they must be restored to the coverage they would have had if leave had not been taken and the payments had not been missed. 

Other benefits provided by the employer, such as holiday pay, seniority and paid leave, are maintained as outlined in the employee handbook.  If not specified under FMLA in the handbook, they will or will not accrue depending on how other types of unpaid leave are handled.  For other benefits, such as elected life insurance coverage, the employer and the employee may make arrangements to continue these benefits during periods of unpaid FMLA leave. As with the group health insurance, an employer may elect to continue such benefits to ensure that the employee will be eligible to be restored to the same benefits upon returning to work. At the conclusion of the leave, the employer may recover only the employee's share of premiums it paid to maintain other "non-health" benefits during unpaid FMLA leave.

For additional questions regarding FMLA or other personnel related matters, contact Andrea Shindlebower Main, personnel services specialist.    

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New FLSA Overtime Rule ON HOLD
Posted on November 28, 2016 by Andrea Shindlebower in Salary and Benefits, FMLA, FSLA

New FLSA Overtime Rule on Hold

On Tuesday, November 22, 2016, a federal judge in Texas issued an injunction regarding the new overtime law that was to take effect December 1, 2016, putting on hold the FLSA overtime changes employers across the country have spent the last few months preparing for.

If upheld, the final rule would increase the salary threshold for exempt employees to more than double at $47,476 and would require employers to pay overtime to any employee who is under that threshold, no matter their job duties.  This injunction will put implementation of the changes within the final rule on hold while the courts determine whether or not the Department of Labor (DOL) has the authority to make such a final rule, as well as the validity of the final rule itself.

What does this mean for employers right now?  Employers will not need to reclassify employees on December 1st as nonexempt (hourly) as long as the employee is currently making more than $23, 660 and falls within the current DOL exemptions.  How long it will take for the court to review is anyone’s guess, so remain vigilant for any changes that may be coming down the pike.  KLC will continue to monitor this situation and update you as soon as information is released. 

If you have any questions on this new development contact Andrea Shindlebower Main, personnel services specialist at 859-977-3785 or ashindlebower@klc.org

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Six Ways to Show Employees You Are Thankful for Them!
Posted on November 15, 2016 by Andrea Shindlebower in Employee Appreciation

Six Ways to Show Employees You Are Thankful

During the month of November we tend to spend more time reflecting on all the things that we are thankful for, so why not take time to reflect on how thankful you are for those outstanding employees.  The ability to show appreciation in monetary ways, through bonuses, can be tricky for public agencies, so the need to be more creative in how we can show our appreciation is very important. 

Below are a few ideas that public agencies can implement from what I call the “ASPECT” approach:

  • Ask - Ask questions about their families, their weekend or a special event in their life. Be sure to be sincere in asking about the employee or it will come across as uncaring or nosey.
  • Schedule - If flexible scheduling is possible offer it to your employees.  Even if it is only for the holidays or summer breaks.  This helps employees to balance work and family time and can make for happier more productive employees.
  • Praise - Identify specific actions where the employee has gone over and above on a task.  By picking a specific task, rather than being general in praise, employees will know that the praise is genuine. 
  • Eat - Who doesn’t like food?  Surprise your employees with donuts or order pizza for lunch or even a chocolate treat.  Schedule lunch with employees and let them pick the restaurant. This could be for the holiday, or even better, for no reason at all.
  • Cultivate - Cultivate employees and allow them opportunities for growth. If permissible, place employees on boards or committees where their talents can be seen. Allow them to attend professional association meetings and represent your city at civic and charitable events.  When your city budgets allow, provide employees as much training as possible.  This is a win-win for both the employee and the city.  Be certain to discuss the potential for advancement as good employees will want opportunities to grow within the organization. 
  • Thanks - Say thank you.  A little kindness goes a long way.  Not only during the holiday season, but show your appreciation all year-long.

There are many aspects of employee appreciation, so find one that works for your organization and don’t stop implementing when the holidays are over.  For questions on this or other personnel related matters, contact Personnel Services Specialist Andrea Shindlebower.    

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Straight time or Overtime? What to do when the Time Changes

Weekly HR News - Straight time or overtime? 

Daylight Savings Time Ends on Sunday, November 6, 2016

Clocks turn back Sunday, November 6, and unless other arrangements are made (such as leave an hour early or come in an hour later) non-exempt employees on duty at that time (2 a.m. – 3 a.m.) which normally work an eight-hour shift, will have actually worked an extra hour, for a total of nine hours of work on that day. Nonexempt (hourly) employees must be paid for all nine hours of work under the Fair Labor Standards Act. They are also entitled to overtime pay for all hours in excess of 40 worked during the week, including the extra hour worked during the conversion back to standard time.

 

For sample policies, training or more information on this or any other personnel related matters contact Andrea ShindlebowerMain, personnel services specialist.  

Do you have an employment law or HR topic that you would like addressed in this article?  If so send an email to ashindlebower@klc.org.  

 

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Intermittent Leave under the FMLA
Posted on October 18, 2016 by Andrea Shindlebower in Salary and Benefits, FMLA, FSLA

Weekly HR News – FMLA

Intermittent Leave under the FMLA

Employees that are entitled to FMLA must be given 12 to 26 weeks of leave depending on the qualifying event as discussed in the previous articles.    What if the employee needs intermittent time off for a qualifying event?  For example, the employee can work but needs time off for physical therapy or for doctor appointments; or if the employee or their covered family member has only been released to return to work for partial work days or work weeks. 

For these type scenarios, the employee will be entitled to intermittent leave.  Intermittent leave is FMLA leave that will be taken in separate blocks of time due to a single qualifying reason (29 C.F.R. § 825.202).  Intermittent leave is only required to be given by an employer if:

  • Medically necessary due to the serious health condition of a covered family member or the employee;
  • Medically necessary due to the serious injury or illness of a covered service member; or
  • Necessary because of a qualifying exigency.

While employees are entitled to FMLA for the birth of a child, in order to take intermittent leave during this time, the employer must have a policy in place that allows it.  The only exception to this is when the employee has a pregnancy-related illness.  In that case, the employee would be allowed to take leave intermittently based on the serious health condition requirement.

When taking intermittent leave, the employee must try to schedule the leave in a way that will be least disruptive to city operations.  If necessary, the employer may even transfer an employee to an equivalent alternative position, as long as that position offers the same pay and benefits. (29 C.F.R. § 825.204)

For additional questions regarding FMLA or other personnel related matters, contact Andrea Shindlebower Main, personnel services specialist.    

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