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Use and Abuse of the Family and Medical Leave Act

A report from the Heritage Foundation impressively catalogs abuse of the FMLA reported in a recent request for information by the Department of Labor. Of note is this quote from the Chamber of Commerce:

[A]bsenteeism attributed solely to FMLA leave on any given day was estimated to be about 5 percent, and at least one employer overstaffed by 10 percent to accommodate the absence rate due solely to FMLA leave. However, many managers reported that cer�tain types of days, including the day after Super Bowl Sunday or the first day of hunting season, had much higher absentee rates for those employees with an FMLA medical certification. There was a high degree of consistency in high absentee rates linked to specific holidays reported across companies and industries.

The Department of Labor also documents some stunning abuses, including an employer where 30% of the workforce has an active medical certification for FMLA leave, leading to disruptive unscheduled intermittent leave.

FMLA abuse during the holidays can be especially problematic for service industries that already have to restrict vacation usage during peak times; it means that dishonest employees are effectively stealing vacation time from honest employees.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.