Unpaid Doesn’t Mean Free

I found this through a SHRM article and it’s very interesting in that unpaid leaves across the country are costing companies $21 billion. Don’t get me wrong, protected leave is a right and, as someone who has needed to take FMLA, it is quite necessary for people who have illnesses or family members with illnesses. However, hiring temporary workers, loss of production, overtime expenses and benefits, are just a few of the factors that cost employers money during an unpaid leave.

More than the cost, though, my major concern is what changes we can expect in the future. We in the HR field are expecting changes in the way FMLA is interpreted which may affect the way intermittent leave can be used and/or determining what a chronic illness or serious health condition is in a more definitive manner. It’s hard to guess what the DOL is going to do. It’s bureaucracy after all, but I’m still anxious to know since it will affect the way I and other HR people will do our jobs. I wouldn’t mind a little more clarification around what defines a “serious health condition” by any means, although I like to think of myself as an HR Manager who takes every situation into consideration. It would also be good to have more guidelines around intermittent leave, as the rules right now are confusing at best.

Well, at least it’s good to know that CFRA won’t be changing any time soon – I hope.