When You Find Out Your Employee’s Medical Leave of Absence Was Really Spent

Dishonest workplace absences are nothing new. In fact, over 30 per cent of employees have called in sick when they’re not actually sick, according to a national CareerBuilder survey of more than 3,400 workers across varying industries and company sizes.

Outside of one-to-two day medical leaves, what can employer’s do when faced with a long term medical leave of absence that might be fraudulent?

Back to Bob Smith, for example. There’s no debating that Diane Jones does have a new Disney coffee mug sitting on her desk. But how should the employer handle the situation?

Before accusing Bob of ditching work for the theme park, first verify what is correct and current: fake mc

 

  • Is it possible Bob ordered the gifts on line?
  • Is it possible the gifts had been sitting in Bob’s closet since his last vacation?
  • Were the gifts really even from Bob? Is there nefarious intent on the co-workers part in revealing this recent ‘gift’ information?

 

Unfortunately, most employers don’t have the time or the resources to enact detective-like investigations when determining the legitimacy of absences. The key in these medical leaves is to look at the surrounding circumstances to determine if the illness really does exist instead of simply taking the employees word for it.

POLICY

The easiest way to begin controlling absenteeism is by review of your current policy manual. What wording do you have in place that addresses attendance? Do you have anything written at all? Some companies require employee’s to call a call-off line when reporting an absence; others require a physician’s statement of return-to-work if absent for three or more days. Still other practice an intensive up front Q&A with the absent employee: [Will they see a doctor for their illness? What duties of the job can they not perform? The specific reasons for the absence? When do they anticipate returning to work? Etc.]. Is there content available within your policy that clearly defines what is considered excessive absenteeism?

Employers who mark their line in the sand up front with new employees often have a less difficult time later in the employee’s tenure. Establishing, promoting and enforcing policy with all employee’s, however, may make a drastic impact on overall daily attendance.

But what of the extended medical leaves of absence? Those leaves that continue beyond one or two days? Are those employee’s automatically eligible for FMLA?

FMLA

FMLA requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees for the following reasons:

• Incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care or child birth;

• To care for the employee’s child after birth, or placement for adoptions or foster care;

• To care for the employee’s spouse, son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition; or

• For a serious health conditions that makes the employee unable to perform the employee’s job.

 

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