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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Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.