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Are You Required to Pay Employees for Holidays Coinciding With FMLA Leave?

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Are You Required to Pay Employees for Holidays Coinciding With FMLA Leave?

The simple and straightforward answer to the question of paying employees for Holidays while they are concurrently receiving FMLA leave is this: Treat them as you would any other employee on NON FMLA leave. This issue is governed by 29 C.F.R. § 825.209(h), which states:

“An employee’s entitlement to benefits other than group health benefits during a period of FMLA leave (e.g., holiday pay) is to be determined by the employer’s established policy for providing such benefits when the employee is on other forms of leave (paid or unpaid, as appropriate).”

Equality is King

Basically, the FORM of leave shouldn’t matter and whatever the form of leave is, they should all have the same terms and conditions. That is not to say that paid and non-paid leave employees should be treated the same however. For example: If an employee is on paid leave, and if the FMLA employee is also on paid FMLA leave, then both should receive the same treatment. If a non-paid leave employee does not receive holiday pay, then the non-paid FMLA leave employee is not entitled to holiday pay.

These terms and conditions are typically spelled out in your employee handbook and is a good reason to have it updated and reviewed by an attorney.

Employee Handbooks and outlining company policies

The benefits of having an employee handbook include having a written copy of the company’s policies and procedures, outlining employee rights, providing terms of employment and more. Having something that specifies the roles of each the employee and the company can reduce lawsuits because it reduces any miscommunication because of unclear employment relationships. Using the handbook to outline the terms and conditions of holiday pay while on leave can help to insulate your company from litigation.

Content errors commonly made by employers

A costly mistake employers often make is to be inconsistent with their enforcement of the policies in place. Not only does the company need to adhere to their policies but employees need to be held to the policies equally as well or else the company may face a discrimination lawsuit.

If you have questions about FMLA leave, Goldman & Ehrlich has answers for both employees and employers. Contact us online  today or call us at (312)332-6733. 

What is Pregnancy Discrimination?

Pregnancy discrimination is discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions and constitutes unlawful sex discrimination under The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which is an amendment to the title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This protection ensures that a woman cannot be refused employment because of pregnancy or pregnancy related conditions as long as she is able to perform the functions of her job. It also restricts discrimination regarding any other aspect of employment including pay, promotions, trainings, benefits, etc.

Maternity and Pregnancy Leave

An employer may not require pregnant employees to submit to standards different than any other employee in regards to medical clearance procedures. For example, doctor’s statements cannot be required for employees with pregnancy related conditions concerning their inability to work before granting leave or sick benefits if other employees are not required to do the same.

Temporary Disability and Pregnancy

If an employee is unable to perform her job due to pregnancy, the employer must treat her the same as any other temporarily disabled employee. For example, providing light duty, modified tasks, disability leave, or leave without pay.

Employers must hold open a position for temporarily disabled pregnant employees with the same terms and conditions as other employees on temporary leave.

There are a lot of examples that demonstrate how and why an employer is not allowed to discriminate against a pregnant employee or one who suffers from conditions or complications from her pregnancy but the main point is that these employees cannot be treated differently than other employees and are entitled to all the same benefits, concessions, and respect as any other employee. From the hiring process to working conditions and leave, pregnancy is not to be seen as a reason or an excuse to treat her differently.

Contact an Attorney

If you have been discriminated against because of pregnancy or a pregnancy related condition, not been given proper leave, or terminated because you needed to take leave, then you may have a case against your employer for wrongful termination. Contact the attorneys at Goldman & Ehrlich at 312-332-6733 or fill out our online contact form and we will contact you as soon as possible.

Avoiding Wrongful Termination Claims

What is wrongful termination?

The first thing we should address is what wrongful termination is and what it isn’t. Many people, employees and employers alike have a misconception of what constitutes wrongful termination. Absent a union agreement or other contract specifying the terms of employment most employment relationships are “at will” agreements. This means that either party may decide that you are no longer a good fit for the job and decide that you should seek employment elsewhere. This also means that if an employer decides that they don’t like your fashion sense, they could decide to fire you. It isn’t fair but just because a termination isn’t fair, doesn’t mean it is a wrongful termination.

Wrongful termination is being let go because of reasons that are protected by federal law: You can’t legally be let go because of your sex, age, race, or religion, or because you complained about sexual harassment. Additionally, some states protect sexual orientation status, whistleblower status, and certain forms of speech in the workplace.

Preventing a lawsuit

As the employer, you should try to do all you can to prevent these types of lawsuits from taking place.

A few ways to do that is:

  1. Documentation: Implementing a paper trail for each employee will be a valuable asset if you ever need to fire an employee. Obviously, most people don’t let employees go for their choice of work tie so if you have an issue with an employee, it is always best to document it. Evaluations, disciplinary actions taken, warnings, etc.
  2. Policies and Procedures: Create very clear and concise workplace policies for your employees that are enforceable. These should include policies on discipline, termination, and standards of conduct. Having an employee handbook that is updated and legally enforceable is a huge asset.

Wrongful Termination lawsuits

If you’ve found yourself the defendant in a wrongful termination suit, you should contact an attorney immediately. If you are involved in an administrative law matter in Chicago, our lawyers are here to protect your rights and interests. Contact us by telephone at 312.332.6733 today or contact our office online to arrange a consultation with an experienced administrative law attorney.