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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: VFM03242021


1st Attendee $349.00*
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2021 FMLA Virtual Master Class: Advanced Skills for Employee Leave Management

Wednesday, March 24 – Thursday, March 25, 2021
12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern / 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Pacific

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Congress enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which provided paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave to employees who contracted COVID-19, or had to take care a family member with the virus.

Unfortunately, the FFCRA expired on December 31, 2020, and with no replacement in sight, employers must now go back to administering Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to employees who become sick or must take care of an ill loved one.

Managing leave under the FMLA has its challenges. Employers need to ensure that all HR staff and all managers who deal with employee leave requests are well-versed in the finer details of FMLA-related leave. HR professionals, in particular, should understand who is eligible for leave, how much they’re eligible for, how to track FMLA absences, and how intermittent FMLA leave is managed.

Administering FMLA leave can be made easier if you have a clear procedure that employees understand and can easily utilize when the need for leave arises. Additionally, HR professionals must understand the various forms and deadlines for remaining compliant under the FMLA, in addition to other federal laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and workers’ compensation claims.

Become a master of the FMLA and simplify your leave program after attending our brand new FMLA 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 ADA interact,
  • And more!

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

Agenda

*All Times are in Eastern

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.

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 a 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.

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 Presenter
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.

4:05 p.m.
Closing Remarks


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.

Break

1:15p.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.

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:

  • 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
  • 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)
  • Reduced-schedule leave:
    • Certification and specific information on reduced hours and expected duration
    • Updating certification
    • Tracking leave time
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.

Final Questions and Closing
Have lingering questions about points raised during 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.

4:05 p.m.
Closing Remarks

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

Faculty

Ruth WillarsRuth Willars
Ruth Willars’ practice consists of employment and commercial litigation, employment counseling, and regulatory compliance. She represents companies during investigations by regulatory agencies including the Department of Labor, Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service, and the Security and Exchange Commission. Given the myriad of regulations associated with both small and large businesses, Willars assists her clients in working through the complexities of running a business and being an employer amidst the austere regulatory work environment the United States has become.

Prior to joining Monty & Ramirez LLP, Willars was the Chief Compliance and Legal Officer for a registered investment adviser. Before taking the in-house position, she worked at other nationally recognized law firms handling labor and employment litigation, which included allegations of discrimination, retaliation, wage and hour violation and breach of contract.