Amongst your employees do you have an employee who regularly reports to work late or fails to turn up completely? This might put you in a dilemma especially when it comes to discipline such an employee. This is despite if the employee is entitled to the days he or she does not report to work.
What Should I Do?
If you have such an employee who is habitually absent, tardy or sick you need to start by determining whether there is a Federal or state statue that applies in such a situation. If the particular troubled employee has worked for at least 1,250 hours in the past year and you have more than 50 employees within a radius of 75 miles, the employee is most likely covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
This particular act requires that you allow an employee freedom to take intermittent leave if the employee fails to report to work because of a serious health condition. The act stipulates that such an employee is entitled to a 12-week unpaid leave in a year without losing his or her job.
The fact that this leave is unpaid means that you are not compelled to pay the employee during the period of the leave. The employee also needs to provide you with medical certification so that you can prove that he or she was actually sick.
What If The Illness Is Interfering With Their Work?
As an employer, you also have the freedom to transfer an employee if you notice his or her health condition is interfering with work. You just need to give the employee a position that has equal pay with the current position. This is to avoid a lawsuit under the Family and Medical Leave Act which also talks about discrimination against felons. The new position should allow the employee to get the necessary medical attention in a more convenient manner.
What If They Are Disabled?
Besides the FMLA, it is also paramount to consider whether the employee is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This act requires that you accommodate an employee who is legally qualified as disabled provided the employee can perform the most important functions of her or his job. This mainly applies if the employee was working for you but got sick and eventually became disabled.
If the employee does not qualify under the ADA and FMLA you can go ahead to discipline or even fire the particular employee if he fails to show up for work. This is subject to the state laws and as a result, you should check them keenly to make sure they do not apply.
To make sure you are on the right side of the laws you should have a clear policy which you should communicate with the employees while discussing employment terms. You should treat all the employees uniformly to avoid discriminating against some employees. You should also ensure you record everything including the days an employee called sick and the actions you took to deal with such a situation.
But to ensure that everything is legal you should consult a local attorney for further guidance on the various laws. You can also get insurance which will help ameliorate some of the risks which are associated with your regular business activities.