Leave of Absence Terminations: What Employers Should Know

Leave of Absence Terminations: What Employers Should Know

From the HR Pros of the HR Support Center

Many times employers are hesitant to take action when an employee has been on an extended leave of absence due to a workers’ compensation claim arising from an injury or illness occurring while in the course of work duties or when the employee is unable to return from a protected leave, such as the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), or a state’s equivalent leave. Employers must look to the mandated leaves, organizational-internal policies, and past practices before taking an adverse employment action, such as disciplinary action or termination. Ensuring compliance with regulatory guidelines, and consistent application of internal policies and practices will generally protect an employer from any discriminatory practices.

* Workers’ Compensation Leaves: Employees who have sustained an on the job injury and are on a workers’ compensation leave of absence are protected under individual state non-discrimination regulations, and may enjoy protection under a state’s mandated leave or the FMLA. Employers must ensure that these employees are treated the same as other employees who are temporarily disabled and follow any internal policies or past practices related to the leaves. Further, employers should consult with the claims manager at their workers’ compensation carrier to discuss any adverse employment action prior to taking the action, to determine that there is agreement in terminating the employment of the individual, and to discuss the effect of such a termination on the claim.

* FMLA or State Equivalent Leaves: Employers must comply with the FMLA or a state equivalent leave if the employee is employed at a work site that has 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius. FMLA or the state equivalents often run concurrently with a workers’ compensation claim and/or internal leave of absence policies. The FMLA or the state equivalent provides a period of time of job protected leave. After the expiration of the mandated leave, employers may rely on internal policies and practices related to the extension of time off if the individual is still unable to return to work. Otherwise, an employer may terminate the individual’s employment if he/she is unable to return after the expiration of the mandated leave.

* Internal Leave of Absence Policies: Many times an employer who does not have to comply with a mandated leave or who wants to provide an extended leave of absence will have an internal temporary disability leave policy that affords employees time away from work for recovery. These internal practices also may be used to extend an employee’s leave if he/she is still unable to return to work following an FMLA or state equivalent leave’s expiration.

The key with all leave of absence administration is that the employer’s policies and practices are consistently applied. Consistent application of these policies and practices will ensure non-discriminatory practices when it comes to the termination of an individual who is unable to return to work from leave. If you have questions about your leave of absence requirements, or need assistance in the development of a policy in this regard, please reach out to your HR Professional for guidance.

Want more helpful answers to your HR questions?

Subscribe to Paycor’s HR Support Center and find employee handbook templates to get you started. Or, upgrade to HR On Demand to get personalized answers and advice from an HR professional. Contact us to learn more.

More to Discover

HR

Are Domestic Partner Benefits Mandatory?

Are Domestic Partner Benefits Mandatory?

A Brief History: Only What You Need to Know The roots of domestic partner benefits stretch way back to 1982, when the City of San Francisco enacted legislation to offer health insurance coverage to the same or opposite sex partners of its unmarried employees. “Domestic partner” soon became the official legal term used by insurers and private and public employers. Also, in 1982, New York City newspaper The Village Voice became the first private employer to offer domestic partner health care benefits. Many other companies and municipalities followed suit. Fast forward to more than 30 years later when, in 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled that domestic partner benefits apply to both same-sex and unmarried opposite-sex couples....

Managing Contractor Payroll: What You’ll Need to Know

Managing Contractor Payroll: What You’ll Need to Know

As a business owner, it’s a given that you’re expected to pay your employees accurately and on time. But something almost as important is making sure you don’t pay your contract or freelance workers the same way you pay employees. Let’s clarify. Independent contractors are not classified as employees by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), so instead of being paid through your payroll system, they’re paid separately as a business expense. When your business requires hiring both employees and independent contractors, it’s important that you understand the distinctions between the two. Why? Three letters: IRS. FLSA – How to Classify Employees and Independent Contractors The IRS looks at the business relationship your company has with a...

Case Study: FRG

Case Study: FRG

A poor implementation experience, a lack of consistent customer service and a time-consuming payroll process led FRG to find a more dependable HR & payroll partner. Now with Paycor, FRG can track critical documents for each brand and employee, receive notifications when documents are set to expire and store them within one, accessible system. Explore the case study and learn how Paycor helped FRG save 15+ hours processing payroll each pay period with a streamlined process and enhanced user experience.

Webinar: EEO Reporting Review

Webinar: EEO Reporting Review

Are you ready for the September 30, 2019, EEOC filing deadline? Don’t worry, Paycor has you covered. Join our team of experts as we review the new EEOC requirements, walk you through Paycor’s Revised EEO-1 report and provide a readiness plan for meeting the filing deadline.