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FMLA Leave Can Affect Year-End Bonuses

December 11, 2018 / Jeff Nowak

It's the end of the year, which means bonus time. Or perhaps instead you want to offer a pay incentive to employees to improve attendance or production? Take, for instance, a point-based attendance bonus policy in which employees are assessed points for every tardiness or absence, which, in turn, disqualifies an employee from receiving the incentive pay. In these situations, can an employer disqualify an employee from the bonus or incentive for leave time taken under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? In short, yes. FMLA regulations 29 C.F.R. § 825.215(c)(2) provide that:. . . if a bonus or other payment is based on the achievement of a specified goal such as hours worked, products sold or perfect attendance, and the employee has not met the goal due to FMLA leave, then the payment may be denied, unless otherwise paid to employees on an equivalent leave status for a reason that does not qualify as FMLA leave. For example, if an em...