What are my options? Exempt employee gone alot for family hospital stays and has key position in company.
You don’t say if this employee is taking Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave, a state-specific leave, or a company-provided voluntary leave. If this is not a legally-protected leave, you are advised to follow your company policies regarding number of absences allowed.
If this is an FMLA leave, ensure the reason for the leave qualifies under FMLA regulations. For example, employees may only take FMLA leave to care for a parent, spouse, or child; if the family member in question does not fall under one of these categories, it cannot be classified as FMLA leave. Some states provide leave to care for others, such as domestic partners, so check your state leave regulations.
For FMLA leaves, be aware that in certain circumstances, employers may refuse to reinstate certain key employees, if the reinstatement would cause “substantial and grievous economic injury” to the employer. Key employees must be within the highest paid 10% of employees who are employed by the employer within a 75-mile radius of where the employee in question is employed.
If you determine that this employee meets the FMLA definition of a key employee, you must notify the employee in writing of his or her status as a key employee, the reasons for denying job restoration, and give the employee a reasonable opportunity to return to work.
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