When Can Employers Prorate Bonus Payments Around FMLA Leave? | Mann & Elias
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When Can Employers Prorate Bonus Payments Around FMLA Leave?

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For employees who work in sales positions or jobs where bonus payments are part of their pay structure, they have come to count on this income to help support themselves and their families. However, if the time comes when an employee needs to take a medical leave of absence from their job via the Family and Medical Leave Act, it is possible their employer may choose to begin prorating their bonus payments, severely impacting their income at a time when many can least afford it. Should you be facing such a situation and have reason to believe your employer has no right to prorate your bonus payments, it may be time to discuss your situation with a trusted employment attorney in Los Angeles.

All Absences Must be Treated Equally

When an employer prorated bonus payments of employees who have been on FMLA leave, it is important that those bonus payments have also been prorated for other employees who are on non-FMLA leave. According to FMLA regulations, payments of this nature may be denied unless they were paid to employees who were on an equivalent leave status. If you have questions about this area of FMLA regulations and how your employer has interpreted these regulations, listen to the advice of Los Angeles lawyers for prorate bonus payments.

Know Your Employer’s Leave Policy

When you are employed in a position where bonus payments are given to you for meeting performance standards, it is vital you make every attempt to familiarize yourself with your company’s policy on leave time and how it can apply to bonus payments. While most companies do have their rules and regulations clearly spelled out, others may not. As a result, misunderstandings can occur or employers may simply decide to do whatever they choose, which can be a violation of employee rights and in some cases state and federal law depending on what happened. Rather than say nothing and possibly lose out on bonus payments to which you were entitled, seek legal counsel from attorneys for bonus disputes and learn how your case could proceed.

Bonus Payments

With many employers, goal-oriented and performance-based bonuses make up a substantial part of their employee’s pay and help in letting the company achieve many of its goals. In many companies, these bonuses are paid out based on such things as perfect attendance, meeting sales goals, and other factors. However, these bonus payments are not grouped into the same category as those payments made to all employees at a company, such as holiday pay or bonuses for the company making a certain level of profit for the year.

Using Paid Time Off

In some instances, employees will choose to use paid time off for non-FMLA leave. If they do and qualify for a bonus, then your employer is required to allow you to qualify for that same bonus should you choose to use paid time off for FMLA leave. If this fails to happen, you should speak to an attorney to gain a better understanding as to how your employer has violated your employment rights. Since your employer does have certain responsibilities they are expected to live up to with their employees, don’t let your questions go unanswered.

Having Clear Standards

If employers want to avoid violating employee rights regarding bonus payments, there are many things they can do. One of the best is to clearly identify the criteria needed to qualify for a bonus, which can prevent many misunderstandings. Also, they can make sure the prorated bonus payments are calculated in the same manner for employees who are on FMLA leave and those who are on other types of unpaid leave. Finally, employers should always make sure bonus payments are paid out to employees based on how much work they actually put into meeting the goal, be it working a certain number of hours, selling a certain amount of products, or other standards. If your employer does not have clear standards and has failed to adequately address your concerns about the prorated bonus payments you received, allow employment attorneys to handle your case.

Proving Your Case

Cases of this nature have often been dismissed by courts across the country. As a result, strong evidence is needed to demonstrate your employment rights have been violated. To do so, you should always have copies of any written policies your employer has regarding bonus payments and the criteria employees must meet to qualify for the extra payments. Along with this, you should also have specific details regarding your FMLA leave time, including when you took the leave and how long you were away from your job. By having this information, you may be able to show the court you did in fact contribute to helping the company meet its goals. Should you fail to have such information, your employer could claim your leave time coincided with the period of time needed to meet various performance goals. Due to the many complex issues that will be discussed regarding your case, it will take the expertise of lawyers to navigate your case from start to finish.

As a hard-working employee who has always played by the rules and took FMLA leave in good faith, you deserve to be paid everything to which you are entitled. If you fail to act quickly and hold your employer accountable for their actions, you may regret it forever. When the time comes that you need to sue for unpaid bonuses, get in touch immediately with the knowledgeable employment attorneys for bonus disputes at the law firm of Mann Elias.


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