When workers abuse FMLA leave, it does not hurt only their employer

Congress passed the Family and Medical Leave Act to help workers balance their work and family obligations, but it is never that easy.

Few things hurt employee teamwork and cooperation as much as the knowledge that abusers are freeloading

Conscientious employees suffer because they are the ones who have to cover the work or work unscheduled overtime when a coworker abuses FMLA. The abuse of FMLA leave by employees who want to shirk their jobs or avoid unpleasant shifts forces their coworkers to work double shifts and unscheduled overtime. Conscientious workers have difficulty meeting their own deadlines when they must cover for coworkers out on leave. Others must cancel their vacation requests when employees use FMLA to take time off that they would not have otherwise gotten. Both workers and supervisors report that abuse of FMLA leave seriously hurts workplace morale.

The workers who are forced to pick up the slack must also listen to their coworkers’ stories about how they used the Family how does grindr vs scruff work and Medical Leave Act to get long weekends off. Conscientious employees feel animosity toward both their irresponsible coworkers and their employers for letting this happen. This greater burden and mental stress causes many employees to burn out. The Family and Medical Leave Act has helped many families in need, but some employees have misused the act to unfairly burden others.

County of Los Angeles gives an example of workers using FMLA to disrupt seniority and increase the need for double shifts. “For example, holiday time off for emergency respond�ers and health care providers is generally granted based on seniority. An employee with less seniority than co-workers who was denied time off will bring in documentation to open an FMLA case to get the time off. In order for affected departments to continue providing services, other employees are requested to work double shifts.”

It also hurts their coworkers

  • Richard Brennan from Foley & Lardner LLP discuses how FMLA forces coworkers to be away from their families when they have to cover for fellow employees who misuse leave. “For many of our manufactur�ing clients, and especially those which provide a high level of paid time off benefits, FMLA misuse cre�ates a morale problem among the workers left to cover for those who are absent. Coworkers know that frequent FMLA users receive the same attendance bonus as those that come to work everyday and this creates added frustration in the workplace which may ultimately may harm productivity … Unsched�uled and frequent absences requires revision of staffing and manning plans. Coworkers are negatively impacted because they may be forced to work unscheduled overtime, which requires time away from their families and imposes burden on those who come to work.”
  • Douglas Duckett of the Ohio Public Employer Labor Relations Association notes that FMLA leave forces coworkers to work extra shifts and take additional time away from their families. “For example, nursing homes, law-enforcement agencies, and other operations with critical staffing often require employees using sick leave to call off at least two hours before their scheduled shifts to allow replacements to be secured. Without such notification, employers are forced to choose between inadequate coverage (and a genuine risk to the safety of others) or forcing co-workers to stay over for a second shift with no notice. Those employees, too, have families and personal needs to attend to.”
  • Katie Jones of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission discusses how intermittent FMLA leave makes adequate scheduling impossible, forces other employees to cover extra shifts, and negatively affects morale. “Unscheduled leave-which usually means intermittent leave for our employees, is difficult to manage. Since the majority of our employees use intermittent leave for unscheduled absences, it is vir�tually impossible to manage the workforce and plan for adequate staffing. Our business operations are 24/7 and employees have often been required to work double shifts when another person has called in with an unexpected FMLA day. This causes resentment and morale problems.