CAN THE AGENCY REQUIRE YOU WORK WHILE ON FMLA?
It looks like management can ask you to perform certain tasks while on FMLA leave. We are not experts in this area, but we just saw a very good article pulling together case law from several courts. Check out “Employer Requires Employee to Work During FMLA Leave. Ummmm, Is This a Problem?” As a union leader, you might want to do a few things about this. First, let employees know that if contacted while on FMLA leave to do some work, they should let the union rep know. Second,
think about bargaining proposals the union should put forward to protect its members during these leaves, e.g., are the short work requests still counted as leave or are they compensated, effectively extending the time off the employee gets? How does the employee file for compensation for these work periods? Is the agency obligated to give the work to unit employees not on leave rather than call on someone on FMLA leave? If so, did use of the employee on FMLA leave actually take work away from those who might have received overtime pay to do it? Is management obligated to notify the union rep each time it calls an employee on FMLA leave about work?
This is not a major problem, but neither is it something to totally ignore the next time you conclude a term agreement and hand the agency a covered-by defense to any further FMLA-related proposals.