For the past year, I worked for the government at a VA Medical Center. The department I worked in has quite a few people enrolled in the Family and Medical Leave Act program. Of the people I saw on FMLA, many were committing fraud.
The Department of Labor defines FMLA as:
“FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. It also seeks to accommodate the legitimate interests of employers and promote equal employment opportunity for men and women.
FMLA applies to all public agencies, all public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees. These employers must provide an eligible employee with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for any of the following reasons:
- for the birth and care of the newborn child of an employee;
- for placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care;
- to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
- to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.
Employees are eligible for leave if they have worked for their employer at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles. Whether an employee has worked the minimum 1,250 hours of service is determined according to FLSA principles for determining compensable hours or work.”
Problem I saw was people using FMLA to:
- Go drinking;
- Go camping;
- Go to weddings; and
- Go hang out with other friends using their FMLA.
When reported to department leadership, the department did nothing. When reported to human resources, they did nothing. This type of inaction promotes misuse of the program and creates budget overloads.