Strategies for Continuous (and Intermittent) Medical Leaves

By John Mavros Attorney at Law, Partner, Fisher & Phillips, LLP | August 24, 2014

Co-authored by Lonnie Giamela, Partner, Fisher & Phillips, LLP

Have you ever scheduled an early-shift employee to cover for a late-shift employee who has just taken medical leave? The covering employee probably was not excited to have to work that extra shift. While the logistics of employee schedules can be difficult, it can be even more burdensome (and more important) to handle the employee’s medical leave appropriately and in accordance with the law.

What do hospitality employers need to be mindful of when an employee takes a medical leave? This article discusses some of the strategies and principles that employers can use when medical leave issues arise.

The Family Medical Leave Act

The Family Medical Leave Act, also known as “FMLA,” generally entitles an employee to twelve weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for the employee’s serious medical condition, or for the serious medical condition of an employee’s immediate family member. FMLA does not apply to all employers. Only employers who operate with 50 or more employees are covered under the FMLA leave. FMLA also does not apply to all employees. The employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours within the twelve-month period preceding the beginning of the requested leave and they must have worked at a location with 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius. Employees also must have been employed for at least a year.

Eligibility Depends on Hours Worked

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Eco-Friendly Practices: The Greening of Your Bottom Line

There are strong moral and ethical reasons why a hotel should incorporate eco-friendly practices into their business but it is also becoming abundantly clear that “going green” can dramatically improve a hotel's bottom line. When energy-saving measures are introduced - fluorescent bulbs, ceiling fans, linen cards, lights out cards, motion sensors for all public spaces, and energy management systems - energy bills are substantially reduced. When water-saving equipment is introduced - low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, and serving water only on request in restaurants - water bills are also considerably reduced. Waste hauling is another major expense which can be lowered through recycling efforts and by avoiding wastefully-packaged products. Vendors can be asked to deliver products in minimal wrapping, and to deliver products one day, and pick up the packaging materials the next day - generating substantial savings. In addition, renewable sources of energy (solar, geothermal, wind, etc.) have substantially improved the economics of using alternative energies at the property level. There are other compelling reasons to initiate sustainability practices in their operation. Being green means guests and staff are healthier, which can lead to an increase in staff retention, as well as increased business from health conscious guests. Also, sooner or later, all properties will be sold, and green hotels will command a higher price due to its energy efficiencies. Finally, some hotels qualify for tax credits, subsidies and rebates from local, regional and federal governments for the eco-friendly investments they've made in their hotels. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document how some hotels are integrating sustainable practices into their operations and how their hotels are benefiting from them.