Being Paid Commission During FMLA Leave: Understanding the Process

  1. FMLA
  2. Being Paid Commission During FMLA Leave: Understanding the Process
FMLA Leave

Employee FMLA leave is defined as unpaid. However, sales may still be made by commission-based staff members while the salesman is away. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals compared commission in Estes v. Meridian One Corp. to monthly output bonuses, to which employees are frequently eligible under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Estes v. Meridian One Corp.: A Legal Case Study

The complaint in this case, Estes, said that she had received $1,297 in commissions while being on FMLA leave because of breast cancer. She claimed that since she had arranged the sales that resulted in the commission before going on vacation, she should be paid this commission. This argument was rejected by the defendant, Meridian One Corp., who claimed that their employee was not entitled to commission while on unpaid leave. Although commission is not specifically addressed in FMLA rules, Section 825.215(c)(2) specifies the following about monthly bonuses:

The Commissions Debate: Examining Legal Standards

“Unless otherwise paid to employees on an equivalent leave status for a reason that does not qualify as FMLA leave, a bonus or other payment that is based on the achievement of a specified goal, such as hours worked, products sold, or perfect attendance, may be denied if the employee has not met the goal due to FMLA leave.”

Incentives for workers on FMLA leave must be distributed equally to those on vacation or short-term sick leave. Employees should also earn their bonus as long as they meet the standards. The employee in this instance produced the sales required for the “bonus” before departing, and the court granted her commission since several of her coworkers also earned the bonus during their absence.

Clarifying FMLA Provisions: Ensuring Equal Compensation

The clear-cut FMLA gains some texture from significant judicial ruling. Your company has the right to cancel your commission for any employee who is on paid or unpaid leave, regardless of when the absence is taken.

Only if your company can demonstrate that you did not satisfy the requirements for the “bonus” and that they did not pay commission to other employees who had comparable leaves of absence would they be able to refuse you compensation.

Employer Responsibilities: Communicating Policies and Providing Training

Commissions and bonuses fall under a unique, ill-explained FMLA provision. Employees are still entitled to similar compensation even though FMLA is unpaid. This implies that all employees who get commissions must be paid according to the same payment policies as their companies.

This provision ensures that employees are not penalized for taking time off for medical or family reasons. It is important for employers to understand and comply with these regulations to avoid potential legal issues. Employers should have clear policies in place regarding compensation during FMLA leave to avoid any misunderstandings or disputes. It is crucial for companies to communicate these policies effectively to their employees to ensure compliance with the law.

Additionally, employers should provide training to managers and HR personnel on how to properly handle compensation issues related to FMLA leave. This will help prevent any unintentional violations of the law and maintain a positive work environment for all employees. By providing comprehensive training, employers can ensure that all staff members are knowledgeable about FMLA regulations and can handle compensation issues appropriately.

The Importance of Proactive Measures: Preventing Legal Battles

This proactive approach can help prevent costly legal battles and foster a culture of understanding and support within the organization. Ultimately, investing in proper training for all staff members can save the company time and money in the long run by avoiding potential legal issues. It also demonstrates a commitment to compliance and employee well-being, which can boost morale and productivity in the workplace.

Creating a Supportive Work Environment: Prioritizing FMLA Training

Workers who have a sense of support and knowledge are more likely to work efficiently and feel appreciated by the company. Employers may foster a productive work environment that benefits staff members and the business as a whole by giving FMLA training first priority.

If you feel you are owed compensation not paid during your FMLA leave after reading this article, you should consider seeking legal counsel. If you’re in Tennessee, Missouri or Illinois, the Crone Law Firm is ready to hear your side of the story.

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