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2021 FMLA Virtual Master Class: Advanced Skills for Employee Leave Management

2021 FMLA Virtual Master Class: Advanced Skills for Employee Leave Management

Product Code: VFM12072021

1st Attendee $349.00*
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BONUS: Receive a FREE download of our Intermittent Leave Tracker with your registration! Use this resource to easily keep track of employees' time away to help ensure your organization remains fully compliant with the FMLA.

2021 FMLA Virtual Master Class: Advanced Skills for Employee Leave Management

Tuesday, December 7, 2021 – Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Program Length: 8 hours

Paid leave remains a hot topic in the HR world and rightfully so, as Congress continues to argue over whether or not it should offer paid leave to workers, as part of the social safety net spending package.

While it remains to be seen whether this bill will pass, administering leave—paid or not—remains a challenge for even the most seasoned HR professional. One look at the U.S. Department of Labor's fiscal year data for 2020 will prove this to be true! Last year, employers that violated the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) were hit with fines totaling over $1.1 million. Don't end up becoming another statistic; get a firm grasp on the FMLA and remain in compliance today!

Join Skoler, Abbott, & Presser P.C. attorneys Meaghan E. Murphy and Maureen James for a live, interactive FMLA master class on Tuesday, December 7, 2021, and Wednesday, December 8, 2021. You'll have the opportunity to get your most pressing FMLA questions answered in real time, uncover new strategies for complying with this challenging law, and more. You won't want to miss the last installment of our 2021 FMLA Virtual Master Class!

Become a master of the FMLA, and simplify your leave program after attending our popular virtual master class, where you’ll learn:

  • How to determine FMLA eligibility quickly and easily;
  • What qualifies as a serious health condition;
  • Tips and guidance for “gray area” conditions, including multiple concurrent conditions;
  • The “do’s and don’ts” of return-to-work certifications;
  • Handling suspected FMLA abuse without running afoul of the law;
  • How to manage intermittent and reduced-schedule leave;
  • How the FMLA and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) interact;
  • And more!

Here's what previous attendees have had to say about this training...

"It's a good program, really helped a lot to validate our company's best practices."

"Very informative, learned great examples in how to apply FMLA regulations to various situations."

"Very informative and interactive program. I felt all speakers were very knowledgeable on the various FMLA topics."

"The knowledge of the material was better than any other FMLA class I've taken. The ability to be able to ask questions and go over hypothetical situations was super beneficial! I loved doing this over two days – there was so much information, and it was nice to be able to reflect on each session for some time rather than having to cram it all in at once. The moderator was also amazing! Great job!"

2021 FMLA Virtual Master Class: Advanced Skills for Employee Leave Management


*All Times are in Eastern
12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET / 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PT

Day 1—Mastering FMLA Fundamentals

12:00 p.m.–12:05 p.m.
Presenter Introduction(s)

12:05 p.m.–1:05 p.m.
FMLA Eligibility: Getting It Right

Establishing employee eligibility is the critical first step in administering FMLA leave, and it’s a step that’s easily overlooked in the flurry of notices and certifications that follow a request for leave. But confirming that employees are eligible to take requested leave in the first place sets the foundation for a fair and consistently applied leave program.

This topic will also set the foundation for our program, as we’ll use this introductory session to briefly assess your current knowledge of FMLA fundamentals. We’ll also highlight recent trends and developments affecting leave and discuss how to proactively adjust your policies and practices to ensure compliance with the ever-changing regulatory, legal, and practical landscape.

We’ll cover:

  • A quick overview of FMLA basic requirements;
  • How to determine FMLA eligibility quickly and easily;
  • How the FMLA rules and related court decisions affect key definitions, such as who qualifies as a covered family member;
  • How to coordinate state and federal leave when covered family members differ; and
  • Recent trends and developments affecting leave.

1:05 p.m.–1:15 p.m.
10-Minute Break

1:15 p.m.–2:15 p.m.
Managing Serious Health Conditions and Medical Certifications

At the heart of many FMLA leave requests is the serious health condition. Whether the condition is the employee’s own or that of a covered family member, employers will often need additional guidance to assess whether a condition qualifies for FMLA leave. While the regulations do provide some assistance, the medical certification is a critical resource for employers here. Understanding your rights to request certification—and to delay or deny leave when certification is incomplete or insufficient—is an empowering tool in your leave toolbox.

The DOL has proposed revisions to several model forms, which employers nationwide often use to administer FMLA leave. This session will cover the latest updates concerning the DOL’s proposed revisions and the practical impact this development could have on:

  • WH-380-E Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee's Serious Health Condition; WH-380-F Certification of Health Care Provider for Serious Health Condition of the Family Member;
  • WH-381 Notice of Eligibility and Rights and Responsibilities; WH-382 Designation Notice;
  • WH-384 Certification of Qualifying Exigency for Military Family Leave;
  • WH-385 Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of a Current Servicemember for Military Family Leave; and
  • WH-385-V Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of a Veteran for Military Caregiver Leave

We’ll also discuss the process of requesting recertification in compliance with FMLA requirements, as well as the steps you must take if you wish to require a medical release for return to work (aka fitness-for-duty certification).

You’ll learn:

  • Tips and guidance for “gray area” conditions, including multiple concurrent conditions;
  • What to do when a medical certification is incomplete or unclear;
  • What to check when an employee wants leave to attend special education meetings for his or her child
  • Your options when an employee or doctor doesn’t cooperate with obtaining the required certifications;
  • When you may require employees to provide recertification of a serious health condition; and
  • The “do’s and don’ts” of return-to-work certifications.

2:15 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
15-Minute Break

2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Meeting FMLA Deadlines: Notification, Curbing Abuse, and Preventing Claims

The FMLA is ruled by deadlines for giving and receiving information, for measuring how much leave has been taken, and for determining how much leave employees have remaining in a given year. A good grasp of timing rules—and learning how to monitor other key areas of FMLA usage—can help you prevent abuse of FMLA entitlements and fend off litigation. This session covers:

  • How to give the four kinds of FMLA notices
  • What to do if an employee refuses FMLA designation
  • Selecting the best FMLA leave year for your organization
  • Counting holidays that fall during leave
  • Rules regarding “making up” FMLA leave
  • Handling suspected FMLA abuse without running afoul of the law
  • How to manage employee leave without risking claims of interference
  • How to legally discharge employees who are on or just returned from FMLA leave

3:30 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Q&A with Presenters

Have lingering questions about points raised during the first day of this intensive FMLA hypo-driven workshop, or want to revisit a fundamental concept or two from earlier in the day? Take advantage of this opportunity to get clarification from the attorneys before you wrap up for the day.

Day 2—Intensive Workshop Addressing the Real-Life Application of FMLA Rules, DOL Regulations, and Court Rulings

12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Mastering the Tough FMLA Issues

It’s one thing to grasp individual FMLA rules, but it’s another thing entirely to put those pieces together in the real world. For example, intermittent leave seems pretty straightforward on paper, but how employers really manage it is another story. What about temporary light-duty positions and fluctuating work schedules? Reinstatement after leave? And finally, how do you handle an FMLA investigation by the Department of Labor (DOL)? This session will help you learn:

  • How to manage intermittent and reduced-schedule leave
  • How to handle leave duration
  • How to calculate leave for fluctuating work schedules
  • The rules regarding substitution of various types of paid leave for FMLA leave
  • When employees have job reinstatement rights and when they do not
  • Tips on how to effectively manage an FMLA investigation by the DOL

1:00 p.m.–1:15 p.m.
15-Minute Break

1:15 p.m.–2:15 p.m.
All Together Now: Coordinating FMLA with ADA, Workers’ Comp, and State Family Leave Laws

The FMLA seems pretty comprehensive, but it’s not the only law that applies when employees need time off for their own serious health condition, to care for a family member, or for other reasons. You need to know when other laws create different obligations—and how their requirements work in tandem with the FMLA. In this session, we’ll cover:

How the FMLA and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) interact;

  • When you should offer leave as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, including a discussion of ADA leave cases and agency guidance;
  • How to offer accommodations other than leave without violating the FMLA;
  • When you can require employees to take FMLA leave concurrently with workers’ comp leave; and
  • Recent developments in state leave laws, including paid sick leave, family leave, pregnancy accommodation, and other trends.

2:15 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
15-Minute Break

2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Applying Your Knowledge

During this highly interactive portion of the FMLA Master Class, your trainers, who are practicing labor and employment attorneys, will walk you through a series of scenarios demonstrating the real-life FMLA issues that stump even the most seasoned HR practitioners.

You’ll have the opportunity to discuss issues with your trainers and fellow attendees to determine the correct course of action to take based on the facts presented and your knowledge of fundamental FMLA compliance principles.

Recent court rulings, long-standing case law precedent, DOL interpretations, opinion letters, and regulations—as well as the trainers’ own experiences in advising clients—are interwoven into this engaging afternoon workshop, with the goal of providing you with actionable insights into the tricky FMLA issues that come up in daily work life.

You’ll dive deep into:

1. Addressing issues with medical certifications and what to do when:

  • Certification submitted by the employee is not sufficient
  • The employee does not return the certification
  • The employee refuses to update the certification if the need for leave changes
  • The employee does not submit fitness-for-duty certification at the end of leave

2. Intermittent leave:

  • Certification of the need for intermittent leave
  • Specific information on when leave is needed and the expected frequency and duration
  • What to do if an employee uses more leave than expected
  • Abuse of intermittent leave (Mondays and Fridays and/or before and after holidays)

3. Reduced-schedule leave:

  • Certification and specific information on reduced hours and expected duration
  • Updating certification
  • Tracking leave time

4. FMLA during holidays and shutdowns:

  • How to “count” FMLA leave during holidays
  • Administering FMLA leave during extended plant or office shutdowns
  • Determining whether an employee on FMLA leave during holidays is entitled to holiday pay

5. Addressing performance issues that arise before the request for leave:

  • What to do when an employee requests FMLA leave in the midst of the disciplinary process or just before discipline or termination steps are taken
  • Addressing performance issues that arise during intermittent or reduced-schedule leave
  • Addressing performance issues discovered while an employee is on leave
  • Reductions in force while the employee is on FMLA leave

6. Return to work—what to do if an employee is:

  • Not able to return to work at the end of leave (ADA considerations)
  • Cleared to return to work with restrictions
  • Temporarily unable to perform essential functions
  • Unable to perform essential functions in the long term

3:30 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Q&A with Presenters

Do you still have questions remaining about items covered during this intensive training, or would you like to go back and discuss a core concept from earlier in the workshop? Use this time to pose your questions and get custom advice from the attorneys before the course ends.

Agenda subject to change

2021 FMLA Virtual Master Class: Advanced Skills for Employee Leave Management


Maureen JamesMaureen James is an associate at Skoler, Abbott & Presser. James has worked in a local school system and volunteered in programs focusing on the needs of persons with disabilities and the elderly. This work has provided her with a detailed understanding of the difficult scenarios employers face when defending claims of discrimination, harassment, wrongful terminations, and allegations of violations of the FMLA. “When our clients have problems, there is no one-size-fits-all band-aid. Our clients need specialized solutions to fit their business and my goal is to help them find the most efficient way to address issues that have arisen, and to give them the information to prevent problems in the future.”

Meaghan E. MurphyMeaghan E. Murphy is an associate who practices exclusively in labor and employment law at Skoler, Abbott & Presser in Springfield, Massachusetts. Murphy has counseled employers throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut concerning labor and employment laws. She has represented management in federal and state trial; before the National Labor Relations Board, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, and other federal and state agencies; and in arbitrations and mediations. She also advises companies on day-to-day employment matters, including policies and practices.

2021 FMLA Virtual Master Class: Advanced Skills for Employee Leave Management

Frequently Asked Questions

What computer set-up do I need to attend this class?

This will be hosted on the GoToMeeting platform. Attendees should have access to a computer that has a microphone and speakers to participate, there is also an option to dial-in over a phone line if you need to connect on your phone. You can read the full system requirements for GoToMeeting by visiting You can also test your system by visiting

Credit Information

HR Certification Institute HRCI
SHRM Preferred Provider

CREDIT INFORMATION: HRCI® ( official seal confirms that BLR®—Business & Learning Resources meets the criteria for preapproved recertification credit(s) for any of HRCI’s eight credentials, including SPHR® and PHR®.

This program has been approved for 7 (HR (General)) recertification credit Approved Provider toward aPHR®, aPHRi™, PHR®, PHRca®, SPHR®, GPHR®, PHRi™ and SPHRi™ recertification through the HRCI.
These credits expire 12/31/21.

BLR®—Business & Learning Resources is recognized by SHRM to offer SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP professional development credits (PDCs). This program is valid for (7) PDCs. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit
The live credits expire 12/08/21.
The on-demand credits expire 12/31/21.