2022 FMLA/CFRA Virtual Master Class: Advanced Skills for Employee Leave Management

December 14-15, 2022 | 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 pm. EST daily | Virtual

Day 1—Mastering FMLA/CFRA Fundamentals

December 14, 2022
12:00 p.m. – 12:05 p.m.
Presenter Introductions
12:05 p.m. – 1:05 p.m.
FMLA/CFRA Eligibility: Getting It Right

Establishing employee eligibility is the critical first step in administering FMLA/CFRA leave. And it’s a step that’s easily overlooked in the flurry of notices and certifications that follow a request for leave. But confirming that employees are eligible to take requested leave in the first place sets the foundation for a fair and consistently applied leave program.

This topic will also set the foundation for our program, as we’ll use this introductory session to briefly assess your current knowledge of FMLA/CFRA fundamentals. We’ll also highlight recent trends and developments affecting leave and discuss how to proactively adjust your policies and practices to ensure compliance with the ever-changing regulatory, legal, and practical landscape.

We’ll cover:

• A quick overview of FMLA/CFRA basic requirements
• How to determine FMLA/CFRA eligibility quickly and easily
• How the FMLA rules and related court decisions affect key definitions, such as who qualifies as a covered family member
• How to coordinate leave when CFRA and FMLA differ
• Recent trends and developments affecting leave

1:05 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Managing Serious Health Conditions and Medical Certifications

At the heart of many FMLA/CFRA leave requests is the serious health condition. Whether the condition is the employee’s own, or that of a covered family member, often employers will need additional guidance to assess whether a condition qualifies for FMLA/CFRA leave. While the regulations do provide some assistance, the medical certification is a critical resource for employers, here. Understanding your rights to request certification—and to delay or deny leave when certification is incomplete or insufficient—is an empowering tool in your leave toolbox.

We’ll also discuss the process of requesting recertification in compliance with FMLA and CFRA requirements, as well as the steps you must take if you wish to require a medical release for return to work (a.k.a. fitness for duty certification).

You’ll learn:

• Key distinctions between FMLA and CFRA serious health conditions
• Tips and guidance for “grey area” conditions, including multiple concurrent conditions
• What to consider when an employee wants to attend special education meetings for his or her child
• What to do when a medical certification is incomplete or unclear
• Your options when an employee or doctor doesn’t cooperate with obtaining the required certifications
• When you may require employees to provide recertification of a serious health condition
• The “do’s and don’ts” of return-to-work certifications

2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Meeting FMLA/CFRA Deadlines: Notification, Curbing Abuse, and Preventing Claims

The FMLA and CFRA are ruled by deadlines for giving and receiving information, for measuring how much leave has been taken, and for determining how much leave employees have remaining in a given year. A good grasp of timing rules—and learning how to monitor other key areas of FMLA/CFRA usage—can help you prevent abuse of FMLA/CFRA entitlements and fend off litigation.

This session covers:

• DFEH’s required posters for CFRA and PDL
• How to give the notices required under FMLA and CFRA
• What to do if an employee refuses FMLA/CFRA designation
• Selecting the best FMLA/CFRA leave year for your organization
• Counting holidays that fall during leave
• Rules regarding “making up” FMLA/CFRA leave
• Handling suspected FMLA/CFRA abuse without running afoul of the law
• How to manage employee leave without risking claims of interference
• How to legally discharge employees who are on or just returned from FMLA/CFRA leave

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Q&A with Presenters

Have lingering questions about points raised during the first day of this intensive CFRA-driven workshop, or want to revisit a fundamental concept or two from earlier in the day? Take advantage of this opportunity to get clarification from the presenting attorneys before you wrap up for the day.

Day 2—Intensive Workshop Addressing the Real-Life Application of FMLA Rules, DOL Regulations, and Court Rulings

December 15, 2022
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Mastering the Tough FMLA/CFRA Issues

It’s one thing to grasp individual FMLA/CFRA rules, but another thing entirely to put those pieces together in the real world. For example, intermittent leave seems pretty straightforward on paper, but how employers really manage it is another story. What about temporary light-duty positions and fluctuating work schedules? Reinstatement after leave? And finally, how do you handle an investigation by DOL or DFEH?

This session will help you learn:

• How to manage intermittent and reduced schedule leave
• How to handle leave duration
• How to calculate leave for fluctuating work schedules
• The rules regarding substitution of various types of paid leave for FMLA/CFRA leave
• When employees have job reinstatement rights and when they do not
• Tips on how to effectively manage an investigation by the DOL or DFEH

1:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
All Together Now: Coordinating FMLA with ADA, Workers’ Comp, and State Family Leave Laws

FMLA seems pretty comprehensive, but it’s not the only law that applies when employees need time off for their own serious health condition, to care for a family member, or for other reasons. You need to know when other laws create different obligations—and how their requirements work in tandem with FMLA.

In this session we’ll cover:

• How the FMLA and CFRA differ when it comes to pregnancy leave and how they interact with PDL
• When you should offer leave as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA/FEHA
• How to offer accommodations other than leave without violating the FMLA/CFRA
• When you can require employees to take FMLA/CFRA leave concurrently with workers’ comp leave
• What kind of benefits Paid Family Leave (PFL) provides and when it comes into play
• Employers’ rights and obligations under the patchwork of paid sick leave laws in California
• How the state Kin Care law affects employee leave
• Additional developments in California leave law.

2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Applying Your Knowledge

During this highly interactive portion of the FMLA/CFRA Master Class, your trainers, who are experienced labor and employment attorneys, will walk you through a series of scenarios demonstrating the real-life FMLA/CFRA issues that stump even the most seasoned of HR practitioners. You’ll have the opportunity to discuss issues with your trainers and fellow attendees to determine the correct course of action to take, based on the facts presented and your knowledge of fundamental FMLA compliance principles.

Recent court rulings, long-standing case law precedent, DOL interpretations, opinion letters, and regulations—as well as the trainers’ own experiences in advising clients—are interwoven into this engaging afternoon workshop with the goal of providing you with actionable insights into the tricky FMLA/CFRA issues that come up in daily work life.

You’ll dive deep into:

  1. Addressing issues with medical certifications and what to do when:

• Certification submitted by employee is not sufficient
• Employee does not return the certification
• Employee refuses to update the certification if need for leave changes
• Employee does not submit fitness-for-duty certification at end of leave

  1. Intermittent leave

• Certification of need for intermittent leave
• Specific information on when leave is needed, expected frequency and duration
• What to do if an employee uses more leave than expected
• Abuse of intermittent leave (Mondays and Fridays, before and after holidays)

  1. Reduced schedule leave

• Certification and specific information on reduced hours, expected duration
• Updating certification
• Tracking leave time

  1. FMLA/CFRA during holidays and shutdowns

• How to count FMLA/CFRA leave during holidays
• Administering FMLA/CFRA leave during extended plant or office shutdowns
• Determining whether an employee on FMLA/CFRA leave during holidays is entitled to holiday pay

  1. Addressing performance issues that arise prior to the request for leave

• What to do when an employee requests FMLA/CFRA leave in the midst of the disciplinary process or just before discipline or termination steps are taken
• Addressing performance issues that arise during intermittent or reduced schedule leave
• Addressing performance issues discovered while an employee is on leave
• Reductions in force while employee is on FMLA/CFRA leave

  1. Return to work—what to do if an employee is:

• Not able to return to work at end of leave (ADA/FEHA considerations)
• Cleared to return to work with restrictions
• Temporarily unable to perform essential functions
• Unable to perform essential functions in the long-term

  1. FMLA, CFRA, and PDL—and how they work together

• Employer coverage and employee eligibility under PDL
• When FMLA can run concurrently with PDL or CFRA leave

3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Final Questions and Closing

Have lingering questions about points raised during this intensive FMLA/CFRA hypo-driven workshop, or want to revisit a fundamental concept or two from earlier in the day? Take advantage of this opportunity to get clarification from the attorneys before you wrap up for the day.

Register Today