My wife just had a baby. She was off work for the standard 6 weeks. She had enough PTO to cover this from her employer. We have decided to have her stay home with the baby instead of going back to work. Employer now wants us to pay the $443.12 for employer paid benefits during the time off. Their policy does state that if you do not return after FMLA you will have to pay this. The thing is we never knew she was on FMLA. She never requested it, and she never signed any FMLA forms. She was on PTO during this time. What do you think?
Once an employer knows that an employee is absent for a reason that might be protected under the FMLA, then the employer is obligated to determine whether the absence is in fact FMLA covered. If the absence is covered, then the employer needs to designate the absence as FMLA protected. The employee doesn't need to apply for FMLA protection. Also, the employee doesn't have the ability to tell the employer to not apply the FMLA protections. Whether an employee is receiving PTO or any other kind of wage replacement would not impact whether the employee's absences are FMLA protected. I wish I had a different answer for you, but it sounds like the employer hasn't made any missteps.
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