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Aug17

Maternity Leave in Georgia

In CA, an employee is allowed to begin their disability maternity leave 4 weeks prior to their estimated delivery date. Is this the same for the state of GA?

Maternity leave in California is more generous than any other state in the country. Under California’s Paid Family Leave, as you state, a pregnant woman can receive up to four weeks of disability benefits before her expected due date. The same is not so in Georgia.

Georgia doesn’t provide additional protections or entitlements to federal laws, specifically the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA).

There is no law in Georgia that entitles pregnant employees of private employers to leave with or without pay. Further, private employers in Georgia are not required to provide disability benefits to employees.

August 17th, 2017, 2:49 PM |  Posted in: Labor Laws |
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Aug17

EE Working While on STD

Is it legal for an employee who is drawing short term disability from her full time job able to work on her personal business while at home?

Whether an employee receiving STD is able to work any other job depends on the language in the STD policy. Some policies will only payout benefits if an employee is completely unable to work, some policies will disqualify the employee for benefits if she is able to work elsewhere, and some policies allow the employee to work in a limited capacity but any earnings must be reported to offset STD payments. The latter is most common but each policy is different.

August 17th, 2017, 2:21 PM |  Posted in: Benefits |
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Aug17

Intermittent FMLA

A non-exempt 35 hr/week employee is on intermittent FMLA. She took 3 hours for FMLA on a regularly scheduled morning then worked an extra five hours of time. So, she worked 35 hours. I think she should still be charged 3 hours off her FMLA time AND still get paid for the hours worked. Correct?

Correct. Although the employee took 3 hours of FMLA leave, being non-exempt means she must be paid for each and every hour worked. So, since she actually worked 35 hours she must be paid for 35 hours. The 3 hours of leave can and should be deducted from her FMLA leave entitlement.

It’s worth mentioning that the FMLA neither prohibits nor requires employers to allow employees to make-up wages or leave time. Employers should clearly state in their FMLA policy whether any make-up time is allowed and how its applied to FMLA leave.

August 17th, 2017, 2:06 PM |  Posted in: Compensation, Labor Laws |
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Aug14

Retroactive FMLA

An employee claims to have submitted FMLA paperwork in January 2017; however, our records indicated that it was received June 30, 2017. Can FMLA be retroactive for intermittent leave?

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 workweeks within a 12-month period of job protected, unpaid leave for specified family and medical reasons.

Timely designations of FMLA leave are required under the law. However, an employer may designate leave time as FMLA retroactively as long as doing so doesn’t cause harm or injury to the employee. It’s best practice for both the employer and employee to agree to the retroactive designation in writing.

Remember, if an employee qualifies for FMLA leave, it is the employer’s responsibility to designate the leave as FMLA-qualifying and to give notice of the designation to the employee. Employees do not have the right to choose when they take FMLA leave. As soon as the leave of absence qualifies as FMLA leave, it should be designated as such, regardless of whether the employee wants the absence to count as FMLA leave.

Going forward, remember that the employee doesn’t have to specifically request FMLA leave. The employer must be aware of FMLA qualifying events and be able to ascertain if a situation meets such qualifications. If the employer is unable to determine if a situation qualifies under the FMLA, the employer may request additional information in order to make the determination. Absent extenuating circumstances, the regulations require an employer to notify an employee of whether the employee is eligible to take FMLA leave within five business days of the employee requesting leave or the employer learning that an employee’s leave may be for a FMLA-qualifying reason.

Since an employee’s 12 week FMLA leave entitlement can be taken all at once or on an intermittent or reduced schedule basis, it’s important to clearly document all FMLA qualifying absences and count them appropriately against the employee’s leave entitlement. Following FMLA regulations will ensure the employee is awarded the full entitlements under the law.

HTH!

August 14th, 2017, 8:18 PM |  Posted in: Labor Laws |
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Aug14

Travel Time

Do we have to pay travel time for an agency care attendant that fills in when the client’s permanent attendant can’t provide services for daily living activities? We pay hourly (over the minimum wage) and mileage for the use of an employee’s auto. We are a Home Care provider agency. Thank You.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes compensation requirements for employees. Under the FLSA, travel time that is a part of an employee’s principal activity, like travel from job site to job site during the workday, is work time and must be compensated as such.

So, if an employee travels between the homes of more than one client during the workday then the time spent traveling must be paid and counted towards the total amount of hours worked in the workweek.

It’s worth noting that the FLSA doesn’t require that an employee be paid at his normal rate for time spent in travel. Reason being, the time spent traveling doesn’t require the use of the employee’s skills and knowledge of the job for which he was hired.

Since you pay attendants more than minimum wage you may consider paying travel time at minimum wage. This may seem like an easy way to save money but it may cost you in the long run if you don’t properly pay employees.

Since so many employees work while traveling (i.e. making/answering phone calls, responding to emails/texts), it can be difficult to accurately track which hours an employee actually worked and which hours were travel time. Any time spent performing work duties must be paid at the normal rate. Thus, tracking hours that were only spent traveling can be difficult.

Also, non-exempt employees would be entitled to overtime for any workweeks during which over 40 hours were worked. When a non-exempt employee receives different hourly rates during a workweek, the employee’s blended rate or weighted average must be determined for calculating overtime. The calculations can complicate payroll processing.

HTH!

August 14th, 2017, 7:55 PM |  Posted in: Compensation |
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