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FLSA and FMLA and HR Professionals

Businesses take risks.  That’s the way it is.  Business is risk.  But, businesses also do everything they can to protect themselves.  One way they protect themselves is to hire Human Resource professionals to ensure the business does not cross governmental legal parameters in regards to employee rights.

The ironic thing is that these same HR professionals can actually be at risk themselves.  Employment litigation is becoming increasingly common in the USA.  And plaintiff attorneys are not only suing the companies, but also the managers and supervisors, including HR managers.

Any HR professional with significant time in the business knows that adhering to the federal regulations is tricky.  There are times when your best professional guess is what leads you through sticky decisions as you navigate the complexities of the laws.

Let’s take the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for example.  The FLSA requires that most workers receive overtime pay at 1.5 times the employee’s regular pay rate for all hours worked over 40 hours in a seven day workweek, and that employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage.

Employees whose jobs are governed by the FLSA are either “exempt” or “nonexempt.” Nonexempt employees are entitled to pay overtime. Exempt employees are not. Most employees covered by the FLSA are nonexempt. Some are not.  The determination of either exempt or nonexempt depends upon the amount an employee is paid, the title and nature of the job, and how they are paid.  Exempt employees must meet certain detailed requirements in all three areas.  Additionally, there can be permissible and impermissible reductions in salary base pay.  Permissible reductions have no effect on the employee’s exempt status, but impermissible reductions may.  And finally, the salary basis pay requirement for exempt status does not apply to some jobs at all, including doctors, lawyers and school teachers.

Now for FMLA.

The Family and Medical Leave Act is an on-going challenge for HR professionals. Because its rules are so complex, companies are vulnerable to FMLA abuse, exploitation, and miscomprehension. It takes only one confused or misinformed employee to cost a business tens of thousands of dollars in FMLA lawsuits.  Family and Medical Leave Act offers employees up to 12 weeks of excused absence from their jobs every year.

The leave is applied to an employee who has a medical need, or to an employee whose approved family member is in medical need.  The medical need must be determined a “serious health condition.”  The leave may or may not offer pay.  It can also be continuous, intermittent or reduced schedule.  After the leave, the employee must receive his or her job and responsibilities back, unless officially unable to perform them.  They are also protected from termination, but not more so than if they had been on the job at the time of an RIF, for example.

Additionally, FMLA has restrictions. Employees must have worked at their company for more than 12 months. They also must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous year.  However, smaller employers are not required to provide FMLA leave to their employees if they meet certain requirements.

So, for smart HR professionals who understand about reducing risks for businesses and also want to reduce their own risks for personal liability, XINSURANCE is here.  XINSURANCE is a gap insurance company that provides supplemental insurance protection in order to provide you with peace of mind while on the job.