Employers: Intermittent Leave Hardest Part of FMLA Compliance

December 15, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Eighty-four percent of those organizations that must abide by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) offer some form of paid vacation, but approximately 25% to 30% of them offer paid leave for some situations not required by the act, according to a recent survey.

The survey of 241 corporate benefits managers, public employers and professional service providers by The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that the reasons leave is offered outside the act include the care of a seriously ill domestic partner (25%), the care of a seriously ill family member outside what is specified in FMLA, such as a grandparent, grandchild, sibling or parent-in-law (23%) and for other reasons, such as non-serious health conditions, parent-teacher conferences, medical procedures not covered by FMLA and doctor appointments for family members (31%).

Seventy-nine percent of respondents that are subject to FMLA offer some type of unpaid leave beyond the 12 weeks required by FMLA, according to the survey.

Meanwhile, respondents said handling intermittent family and medical leave was one of the most difficult parts of meeting FMLA requirements for employers (75%), which requires them to allow up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for certain medical and family reasons.

Other aspects employers noted as difficult were recordkeeping and tracking use of leave; determining what constitutes a serious health condition and communicating with health care providers.

Results also included that:

  • seventy-four percent of organizations require unpaid family and medical leave to be offset by paid leave, such as sick time, vacation time or any other available paid leave.
  • while continuation of health benefits is mandatory during FMLA leave, employers also commonly continue other benefits, such as life insurance, disability insurance, retirement plans and vacation time accrual.
  • six weeks was reported by the largest percentage of respondents as the norm for length of FMLA leave.

For a summary of survey results or to order a survey report, go here .