Understanding the FMLA Workbench

  • by Jennifer Adams, Principal Consultant, AspireHR
  • March 1, 2011
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Workbench assists employers in administering the complex guidelines for determining eligibility and absence management. Understand the components that make up the FMLA Workbench and how each section of the workbench functions.
Key Concept
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Workbench is a tracking tool to assist in the administration and decision-making process for determining federal leave eligibility and the number of hours an employee has available. It associates qualifying absences with each request. The FMLA Workbench also provides historical reference for audit and legal compliance. What the FMLA Workbench does not do is trigger retroactive processing of the employee or place the employee on a leave of absence. All absence entry and personnel actions still must be executed independently of entry of the request for FMLA protection.

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Workbench is an invaluable tool for assisting with the recording and tracking of family medical leave. The workbench is configurable for both federal and state levels, and it provides the flexibility required to support changing legislation (for example, the new reason codes enacted in 2010 for service members and their families). If you are using SAP Time Evaluation, you have more configuration options for setting up the FMLA Workbench. If your organization does not use SAP Time Evaluation, you may still benefit from using the workbench. You can optimize the FMLA Workbench to ensure that both federal and state guidelines are met.

To receive job protection, employees must meet the eligibility requirements, which are typically based on seniority, minimum worked hours during a 12-month period, and remaining hours of family medical leave time. The employer is allowed to determine, as an organization, the 12-month base period in which the absences and eligibility will be calculated. The workbench supports all the allowable calculation periods, including the rolling 12-month period, which is the most advantageous to the employer, but also the most labor intensive in tracking both eligibility and hours used. (For more about FMLA, see the sidebar “FMLA Legislation.”)

By using standard SAP configuration groupings and modifiers, different methods may be established to calculate the creditable worked hours toward eligibility based on your employee population. For example, creditable hours for salaried or non-exempt employees may be based on scheduled hours from the employee’s Planned Working Time record or a constant value of 40, while actual worked hours for hourly employees are cumulated to a time type during time evaluation processing.

Jennifer Adams

Jennifer Adams has 15 years of SAP ERP HCM experience and currently works as a principal consultant with AspireHR, specializing in Time Management and US payroll. She will be a presenter at the HR 2011 conference to be held March 8 to 11 in Las Vegas. Her topic will be “A Comprehensive Guide to Configuring, Integrating, and Optimizing the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Workbench.” Jennifer also has experience with Compensation Management, Personnel Administration, and Benefits. Before that, she spent 12 years in systems analysis and design for mainframe environments, supporting multiple business streams.

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