DOL: Employees can’t opt out of FMLA protection
March 18, 2019
Neither employers nor employees can decline to designate Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)-qualifying leave as such, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) wrote in an opinion letter (FMLA2019-1-A) published Thursday.When an employer determines an employee needs leave because of an FMLA-qualifying reason, that leave must count toward his or her FMLA allotment, even if the employee requests otherwise. This means that employees cannot, for example, opt to take employer-provided sick or vacation time first; FMLA leave would have to run concurrently.
DOL also made clear in its letter that while employers are free to adopt leaves policies more generous than the FMLA, they cannot extend the FMLA’s protections beyond 12 weeks (or 26 weeks for military caregiver leave). The letter came alongside two others answering questions about the Fair Labor Standards Act’s wage and record keeping requirements and the compensability of time spent participating in employer-sponsored community service programs…
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