#1  
Unread 03-30-2005, 01:51 AM
gsmiller
 
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Default FMLA, Vacation & STD

Per union contract, our employees are eligible for STD and Vacations. Here's the scenario: An employee has a heart attack and is hospitalized and put on FMLA. His STD benefits kick in on day 8 of his absence and last for 13 weeks. Can management legally require that the employee use up his vacation time prior to STD benfits beginning?
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  #2  
Unread 03-30-2005, 02:27 AM
HRinFL
 
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Default RE: FMLA, Vacation & STD

Welcome to the Forum! Post this under the FMLA section and you will elicit mor responses.

FMLA grants protection for ees to take time off for certain situations. It does not dictate to er how to address compensation during an ee's FMLA absence. FMLA does not have to be paid leave, but most ers require that any STD, PTO, etc. be used during the absence. So to answer your question, you can require an ee to use paid time off benefits during FMLA leave.
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  #3  
Unread 03-31-2005, 04:12 AM
atrimble
 
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Default RE: FMLA, Vacation & STD

Not sure how this applies in other states, but I'll tell you what we do. We typically require employees to use all paid leave before going into an unpaid leave status. This applies for most types of absence, whether vacation, sick, disability, FMLA, or whatever, except for work-related injury/illness absences.

We do offer short term disability, and because those benefits are taxable as income (as opposed to workers' compensation benefits), we allow the employee to elect to use accrued PTO to bring their weekly income back up to their standard level. So if they're off 40 hours in a week, and the STD benefits run at 60%, then they would use only 16 hours of PTO (40% of 40 hours per week). If they're on a reduced work schedule such as 20 hours per week, they still get 60% STD benefit on the time they're not working, and use 8 hours of PTO for the other 40% of their weekly income.

We allow EEs to make this election instead of requiring them to use PTO just for clarity's sake; work comp doesn't allow for adding PTO to its wage replacement benefits, nor other versions of wage replacement such as STD. So the election, in the EEs' minds, differentiates whether the absence is work related or personal. It's another time management tracking and checking procedure for our records.

-Abby
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  #4  
Unread 04-05-2005, 05:41 AM
lorrie
 
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Default RE: FMLA, Vacation & STD

[font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 04-05-05 AT 11:43AM (CST)[/font][br][br]I like this solution.

Our policy also requires the use of all available PTO during FMLA, but I have still struggled with how to handle the STD vs Vacation time during FMLA. Your solution of using 40% of vacation to complement the 60% STD makes sense to me.

Thanks for the idea.

Also, for the original question, it makes sense to me that you should be able to require an employee to use vacation time for the waiting period before the STD begins.
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  #5  
Unread 04-05-2005, 06:57 AM
pork1
 
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Default RE: FMLA, Vacation & STD

GSMILLER: I would refer you to your company policy. FMLA is a federal law requiring employer protection of an ee's job, but it does not cover compensation.

We have a company medical leave benefit which runs concurrent with FMLA; our plan benefit provides the compensation, as a reduced sum at 66 2/3 % of the average weekly wages. The employee goes two weeks without pay and then the medical leave benefit kicks in. The ee's option is to either take vacation or sick time accured or go with out any pay due. His/her decision will be put into written form and we will abide with our policy procedures.

I hope this helps you to understand your issues.

PORK
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  #6  
Unread 04-05-2005, 07:06 AM
Don D
 
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Default RE: FMLA, Vacation & STD

You've gotten some good advice and have several options open to you/the company. You mention two words, however, that completely muddy what would ordinarily be fairly clear water: Union Contract. Get ready for a grievance and arbitration.
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  #7  
Unread 04-05-2005, 08:36 AM
atrimble
 
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Default RE: FMLA, Vacation & STD

Like Don D says, it all depends on what's in the contract (or policy). We're supposed to require employees to use all PTO during absences, but in this instance (STD) we don't. If one of my employees runs out of paid sick leave while out on FMLA-protected leave, we typcially require them to use accrued vacation. But, in the reverse, employees cannot use sick leave if they're out on vacation and run out of vacation leave.

So, again to the original post, I guess it all depends on what the policy or union contract says. I used to be anti-union, but I've learned so much from them and their court cases that I've developed that love/hate, adoration/fear complex...

-Abby
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