Is the FMLA Good for Business?

May 22, 2019 | 1,264 views

Is the FMLA Good for Business?
Is the FMLA Good for Business?

When an employee takes a leave from work, managers and owners are often left in the lurch. Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a business feels the strain of a missing employee, and the pain in the workplace can be exacerbated if it is unexpected. The work still must get done after all, and usually with less help. On the other hand, FMLA can be good for your employees and for your business.

For over 25 years, the FMLA has protected employees by requiring that employers with 50 or more employees provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for any employee who has valid family needs or medical reasons. It was intended to ensure that an employee in a difficult personal situation would be able to return to their work and not be punished by having had an emergency that required their attention elsewhere.

And this is where the FMLA can be advantageous to your business. Because it was specifically designed to help employees, the employees are often grateful to have it available. Even though it is usually unpaid leave, the benefit for employees and your operation is notable.

You Get Dedicated Employees

Benefits do matter, and even if FMLA is mandated by law, employees want to get back to work as soon as possible. Returning to a familiar place, with the same or a comparable job, eases their transition after a family or medical leave. And A US Dept. of Labor survey found that 93.5% of employees were able to keep their benefits while they were gone. In this world of unstable insurance costs, the relief felt by employees translates to dedicated employees happy to return to work, and grateful that they can.

The DOL survey also found that employees who used FMLA to care for a family member thought it was helpful nearly 80% of the time. And those who needed FMLA for themselves thought it was helpful to their physical and mental health. When an employee needs the leave, they return as better employees — rested, appreciative and dedicated.

It Develops Other Employees and Your Company

Job functions of an employee on leave usually get shared by others. It might make some people a bit disgruntled, but most other employees aren’t bothered by a co-worker’s leave, and over 17% of employees felt they benefited because they had opportunities to learn new skills and improve their employment status.

Seattle-based Economic Opportunity Institute research also indicates that family-friendly policies like the FMLA help businesses prosper. In California alone, employers save $89 million per year in employee turnover costs. A single, low-level employee costs several thousand dollars to train, and the research supports this perspective —  90% of businesses say the FMLA did not hurt them. And because the leave is unpaid, profits go up when employees are able to take time to care for family members.

Government regulations are seldom welcome by businesses, and the FMLA has had its moments under attack but, these days, the clear benefit to employees and your business’s profit and longevity are documented. The lesson is to flex a little bit. By cooperating readily with the FMLA, you will enjoy lower employee turnover with increased loyalty, morale, and profit.

Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007, and 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

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