This migraine case is giving us a migraine

[font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 06-29-07 AT 06:53PM (CST)[/font][br][br]Last year, associate with us under a year, had attendance problems. At the end of the year is hospitalized with potential brain tumor (no FMLA).

Found that it's not a brain tumor, absences continue, now eligible for FMLA and diagnosed with migraines.

Migraines occuring every other week so individual is missing 2 or 3 days out of every 10 work days. Dr.'s statement (after it's been returned to the office for further clarification) states "occurs every few months, unknown duration - as for treatment, "migraine frequency & duration impossible to predict. Treatment as needed."

Now this individual has been missing anywhere from one day to five days in 8 of the last 10 weeks. Since becoming eligible for FMLA have used almost 4 weeks of time in 2 months.

The role this individual is in is based on productivity. What happens is they come in do a lot of work then are out leaving others to pick up the pieces. We would like to move into a similar role (which is covering other people's desks rather than picking up calls at their own desk) at the same rate of pay. This will cause a lot less disruption within the department and provide a needed service.

Adding fuel to the fire, this individual was bragging about moving up a pay grade to co-workers who were less than excited since they're the ones who end up covering or finishing the work left behind when this team member is out.

Would appreciate feedback as to whether you would recommend making this change and if so, would you continue to pay commission (at the average it had been received based on last few months). If you recommend the move, any thoughts as to how long we may be able to do this? Our preference is until the absences decrease in frequency and duration but don't want to encounter retaliation charges.

We have others with this same diagnosis but nowhere near the frequency of this individual.


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  • As you know, here in WI ERs cannot madate the use of vacation until the WIFMLA expires. We had the same situation you outlined above until we changed our policy so that at the expiration of an EEs WIFMLA leave they are required to use any available vacation time until that is all exhausted and only then can they use more unpaid time. It was AMAZING the people that no longer required FMLA leave once they were required to use their vacation for their leave. That would be my first recommendation.

    As for moving the EE, do NOT do this as you would only be creating more problems as you would still be required to pay him the commissions that he would have gotten had he not moved.

    The other option would be to require a recert. Give the EE a copy of his attendance record and inform him that he is required to get medical verification that he needs the amount of leave he is taking. Maybe once the dr. sees the amount of leave the EE is taking he will rethink giving him carte blanche for his leave.

    Good luck.
  • I have transferred employees on intermittent FMLA to less time-critical positions. In each case, the employee viewed it as "punishment"; but it is clearly allowed by FMLA regulations and it worked out well for the organization. It also appeared to motivate the employee to improve attendance so s/he could be moved back to their regular jobs.
  • Thanks for the advice. This individual has exhausted all of their vacation time already and will owe us $.

    What we're going to do is take an average of the last 3 months commission and do the move upon their return (currently out with a migraine since Friday). Job function is the same but not the initial point of contact with the customer. This is the problem now in that orders get started but not completed by this individual on a regular basis due to the frequent absences making it confusing for our customers.

    A copy of the timesheets from the beginning of the year will be given to her also for the re-cert. reminder which was due today.
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