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Boon to many, boondoggle to some. Here's how to ensure your employees don't abuse the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Constipation. Ear infections. Ingrown toenails. Food poisoning. Were these conditions intended to be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act?
The FMLA became effective on August 5, 1993, six months after its enactment. The act was conceived and finally passed because of two overreaching concerns that began to impact corporate America directly: the increasing family needs of the American workforce along with the development of high-performance work organizations. Although many old-world business theorists believe that the two matters are incompatible, they actually are with some adjustments.
As to the purpose of the FMLA, there appears to be a direct correlation between stability in the family and productivity in the workplace. The FMLA was established so that workers would not have to choose between their jobs and taking off the needed time to attend to a sick child, elderly parents or their own serious health problems. Although the act's intentions are good, there are many workers who are abusing its protections and using its broadly based language in ways that were not intended by the sponsors of the law, creating more problems.
According to the House Opportunities Committee, misapplications of the FMLA have caused millions of dollars in lost productivity. Much of this is the result of excessive absenteeism. Neither is what the law envisioned. So many people have been successful in taking off up to 12 weeks for problems not intended to be covered by the FMLA, it is difficult to …