Let’s start with the basics:

What is FML?

“FML” refers to federal or state unpaid, job-protected leave plans that covered employers are required to provide for their employees. An employee can take time away from work for various reasons, including care for their own qualifying medical condition, or that of a covered family member. Several states offer FML plans, and eligibility requirements can vary widely.

What is FMLA?

FMLA refers to the federal leave plan allowing an eligible employee to take up to 12 weeks of leave per year to care for themselves or a family member for a qualifying reason. FMLA also covers military reasons for leave, such as deployments. An employee may be eligible to take up to 26 weeks of leave if caring for an injured military service member or veteran.

What other leave coverages are available?

Several states have leave plans in addition to FMLA. Additional leave plans may also be available by an employer.

10 questions employers should ask about FMLA

With a better understanding of common FMLA mistakes, you can find solutions that help protect your company, improve productivity, and provide value to the workforce. Get closer to finding the solutions that are right for your company by asking these important questions.


There are many FMLA rules and requirements that employers must adhere to in order to remain compliant. How well do you know the fundamentals?

Find out by taking this short quiz.

Consider the impact of managing these needs internally.

Organizations can be like families, wanting to make sure employee leaves are handled by people who know their colleagues and follow the company culture. This is totally understandable. Ultimately, absence management is about taking the best care possible of employees, while remaining fully compliant with rapidly changing regulations, and minimizing the financial impact while helping to ensure a productive and positive workplace.

Outsourcing is less about handing over such delicate matters to people the company doesn’t know – and more about partnering with your human resources staff members to help them ensure employee absences are handled correctly every time, with better return-to-work outcomes. More organizations are beginning to see the benefits of giving these responsibilities to a dedicated team that follows standard processes. This can help give employers confidence while allowing them more time supporting employees.

Why should you consider outsourcing absence management?

Here are some top reasons employers turn to outsourcing leave management:

  • Lack of expertise and/or difficulty interpreting and managing FML leaves, which can lead to Department of Labor investigations and fines, and lawsuits that can be costly and disruptive regardless of the judgement.
  • Keeping up with coordinating different leave types and tracking intermittent leaves.
  • Ensuring employees have the tools and support they need during an often difficult time.

Learn more reasons why you should consider outsourcing absence management.

Introducing Guardian Absence SolutionsSM

Guardian provides a guided absence management experience that supports optimal return-to-work outcomes, protecting employers by taking complexity and compliance head on.

The value our solutions provide to employers includes:

  • Compliance with all federal and state regulations
  • Claims administration portal that unifies absence event information for a truly integrated experience
  • Integrated claims intake and consolidated billing
  • Expansive leave coverage, including federal and state leaves, company leaves, insured and self-funded short-term disability, and State Paid Family Leaves
  • Close collaboration on return-to-work and stay-at-work strategies to maximize total productivity
  • Real-time dashboard reporting, highlighting top diagnostic categories and leave reasons; current claim status/info and historical data also available

The value our solutions provide to employees includes:

  • Unified service experience across all claim types with a convenient, centralized management of the absence event
  • Preference-driven methods of contact, including text, phone, and email
  • Mobile optimized portal with access to self-service claims information, including the ability to enter intermittent absences and return-to-work dates, submit new absences, enroll in direct deposit, electronically sign releases, and upload paperwork
  • Proactive outreach by leave and clinical professionals to support timely and safe return to work
  • Customer service to support absence-related questions
Learn more about Absence Management
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* Unless otherwise noted, the source of all information in this section is the Guardian Absence Management Activity Index & Study (2021).

Guardian Absence SolutionsSM is a service mark of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America.

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