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employee extending disability

We have 15 employees and are not required to offer 12 weeks as per FLMA. An employee has a sprained foot diagnosis code 645.0. After 6 weeks of short term disability, the insurance company is no longer paying her short term disability, but the employee told the office she is taking 3 more weeks off. What are our legal rights to fire her.

You could have fired this employee after 2 or 3 weeks. Collecting disability payments from the insurance company does not guarantee the workers job. However, it appears that you have chosen to give employees 6 weeks of unpaid time off for medical conditions. That is a reasonable and even generous policy. (Just be aware that it must extend to pregnant employees, as well.)

You should also be aware that many, many medical conditions require more than 6 weeks to heal. The fact that your disability insurance lasts for only 6 weeks does not guarantee the employee will physically be able to return to work after that time. Naturally, you would require a doctors release stating that she is fit for duty for her to return to work.

You can legally terminate this employee for excessive absenteeism. The best practice would be to send her a certified letter that states if she is not back to work by xx date, you will have no choice but to terminate her.  However, the certified letter is not a legal requirement. You can simply terminate this employee for nonattendance.

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This entry was posted on Friday, July 23rd, 2010 at 8:26 am and is filed under
Attendance Management.
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