When Can Employers Prorate Bonus Payments Around FMLA Leave?

What Is The Family Medical Leave Act?

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is one that most Americans end up needing to use at some point during their working career. You might have to use the FMLA for your injury or an injured family member that relies on your assistance to help them through their medical problems. Millions of Americans every year use FMLA to keep their job while they have to take time off for medical leave. FMLA is an essential part of the American workforce and that is why it is essential to learn every aspect of this crucial workforce tool. Both employers and employees alike need to know the implication that comes with FMLA, as most employees will at one point require it and all employers will have an employee who is on FMLA.

How do bonuses work when your employees on FMLA?

If you are the owner of a business or are in charge of the day-to-day operations of a business, then you might be wondering how FMLA might affect you whether or not your employee gets a bonus. If your businesses bonus program is run by hitting different benchmarks or having a certain attendance rate, then of course an employee going on family medical leave will have trouble hitting these benchmarks as they are missing time from work and will not be able to hit the target benchmarks that require them to work hard in the office to reach maximum potential. 

As a business owner, you may question if employees deserve getting bonuses prorated based upon frequent requests or how many hours were worked. So much so that it was taken to the second circuit court of appeals. In this case, they had to determine if family medical leave should be considered as normal leave, which would hurt the employee’s chance of getting a bonus based on how much time would be missed for family leave. The argument for family medical leave is set apart from other working absences. In this case, employees who were required to take family medical leave still have a chance to receive their bonuses. For example, if a company set their bonuses based on attendance and an employee missed three days due to family medical leave, those three days would not count against attendance. All bonuses would be judged upon a 362-day calendar year. 

The second circuit court of appeals ruled that employees could not miss time due to family medical leave. That would allow employees an easier path to receiving their bonus. In this case, missing work due to family medical leave is considered the same as not showing up to work for any other reason. If employers allow people who miss time to prorate their bonus program to still give them an equal chance, then they must do the same for their employees on family medical leave. 

The same works for the more likely scenario that companies do not adjust their bonus program for employees who miss time. They are unable to adjust their bonus program for the employees on family medical leave. This ruling made family medical leave and other forms of employee leave the same when it comes to bonuses. The overall importance of the family medical leave bonus is that those employees deserve the same treatment as other employees with absences. Other bonuses unrelated to performance are not included within this ruling and can have very different results for both employees and employers.  

With family medical leave being more important than ever given the recent pandemic, employers across the country must be prepared for any urgent issues that could prompt for immediate family medical leave. Seeking legal aid from a reputable team like Newport Beach bonus dispute lawyers may be necessary, if you are looking to solidify the needed time off as an employee, or in need of legal advice as an employer. It is always best to be prepared for all instances regarding business. Even more so today, as COVID-19 has impacted normal standards and procedures.  Thus, professional help can make things much easier for both employees and employers who need immediate assistance.

Issues such as this regarding company bonuses shows us why it is so important to identify all circumstances regarding bonuses. If employees know all the information regarding both performance bonuses and holiday bonuses, then they have no reason to question or press legal action through a trusted personal injury attorney Newport Beach. Ensure that your company is handling all situations regarding employees who are on family medical leave similarly as employees on other forms of leave. If you are a company and feel that your employees deserve to qualify for their bonus even if they miss time due to family medical leave or other reasons, then make that known to all employees. All parties involved must understand exactly how the bonus system works.

  • Understand how the family medical leave act works for both you and your employees.
  • Remember to be very clear with all parties involved to avoid confusion.
  • Treat traditional absences the same as family medical leave absences.      
  • Do not be afraid to seek legal help before you get in too deep.
  • Incorporate a very easy system to follow updates to bonus procedures throughout the company or business. Doing so will prevent employees from seeking legal aid to make sure that they will be covered with needed time off, and fairly compensated with a bonus.  
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