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Paid FMLA Leave vs. Administrative Leave

AN employee was placed on paid administrative leave after an incident. He then asked for and was approved for a continuous/intermittent FMLA leave to care for a family member during the time the employee was off on administrative leave. The administrative leave policy states the employee will be available during normal working hours for meetings, etc. while on administrative leave. Can the employer require the use of accrued PTO for the FMLA-designated continuous leave period during the admin leave?

Under the FMLA, employers are permitted to require employees who are on leave to use accrued PTO with limited exceptions. Employees must be informed of this mandate in the FMLA Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities Notice.

However, the FMLA prohibits an employer from requiring more of an employee who takes FMLA leave than the employer would require of employees who take other forms of paid or unpaid leave. Further, an employer cannot treat employees who use FMLA leave in a manner that discriminates against them for taking FMLA leave.

In this case, the employee was already on paid administrative leave and was not required to use accrued PTO. By requiring the employee to use his accrued PTO only because he applied and was approved for intermittent FMLA leave may be deemed discriminatory. This may also be considered interference with the employee’s FMLA rights since forcing the employee to use his accrued to PTO when he’s already on paid leave may discourage him from taking FMLA leave.

Thus, it’s best to designate the FMLA leave time as such and deduct the appropriate amount of time from the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement but not require him to use accrued PTO.

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 20th, 2017 at 7:12 pm and is filed under
Benefits, Labor Laws.
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