Q.  Are we required to pay holiday pay to employees who are on FMLA leave? Does the holiday extend an employee’s FMLA time off?

A.  With the holidays fast approaching, these are timely questions! With respect to holiday pay, the FMLA regulations state that employers must follow their own established policies in place for other forms of leave. So, if the employer’s policy is that employees on any type of unpaid leave of absence are not eligible for holiday pay, then no holiday pay is required for employees on FMLA leave during the holiday week.  On the other hand, if your company pays holiday pay to employees who are on vacation the week of the holiday, for example, and the employee is substituting vacation for unpaid leave, then the employer must pay holiday pay to the employee on FMLA leave.  It is therefore critical that the employer’s policy clearly states whether and under what conditions holiday pay will be paid, including when an employee is on leave.  If you do not have a policy, or your policy is not clear, now would be a good time to put an updated policy in place.
Continue Reading Checking it Once and Checking it Twice: FMLA Leave and Holiday Pay

Q: Now that the election is finally here, am I required to give employees time off to vote?

The answer to that question depends on which state you are in. There is no federal law that requires employers to give time off to vote, but many states do have such laws.  While the laws vary by state, in general, these kinds of laws provide that employers must provide time off to vote if employees do not have sufficient time to vote outside of working hours.  State laws vary as to whether the time is paid or unpaid, how much time must be given, and how much time is “sufficient” to vote outside of working hours.  Many states provide that employees are only entitled to voting leave if they provide advance notice to the employer.
Continue Reading Employers and Election Day: Voting Leave

Q.  Are there any issues I should be concerned about with regard to the Zika virus and upcoming flu season?

A.  Media attention about the Zika virus seems to have lessened now that temperatures in the Northeast have cooled.  If your business requires employee travel to Zika-infected areas, however, there are several issues for you