How do your employees report FMLA absences?

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I’m a two tin can and string kinda guy. That way, not only can I can tell my kids — I have 50 of them — to cut the crap and clip my blogger toenails but also I can use the string and cans to—

Oh, hi there. I didn’t see you come in.

Where was I? Oh yes. Yesterday, I read with interest — lawyers only read “with interest” — this article from SHRM’s Allen Smith called “Should Employers Let Workers Report FMLA Absences by Text?

Allen addresses the pros and cons of allowing employees to text or email versus call out. Among the benefits of allowing employees to text/email:

  • employers get documentation (versus a phone call where recollections may differ)
  • often faster and easier than calling
  • Millennials may prefer texting

But some employers prefer call-out policies because it may facilitate the employer in obtaining more information about an employee’s absence. Plus, most BS meters work better over the phone than via electronic communications. And call-outs may be better suited to a centralized tracking system (as opposed to text messages to a manager’s cell phone).

Also, since Millennials hate the phone, it can be a very passive-aggressive way to enforce your call-out policies. I made that part up. Ironically, “call-out anxiety” could exacerbate a serious health condition and result in more FMLA use. I made that part up too.

Allen’s article closes with some best practices, no matter what system you use. Among them is one that I preach to clients; namely, pay your legal invoices Net 30 follow your absence-reporting rules. Although an employer may not interfere with an individual’s FMLA rights, yes, it can enforce its work rules while employees are on FMLA leave. That includes the absence-reporting rules for employees taking intermittent FMLA leave. Although, think twice about requiring a sick note for every absence. Just sayin’.

But, now I’m curious, how do your employees report FMLA absences? Take this poll and let me know.


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