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PayScale’s VIP Blog Roundup: Help! My Company Wants Me to Work During FMLA Leave

Most workers have probably heard of FMLA, but how many really understand what it means, in terms of rights and limitations? Worse, a lot of employers don't know where the line is. In this week's roundup, Alison Green advises an Ask a Manager reader on what he can expect from FMLA. Plus, we learn why high school students should learn how to use social media, and how job hopping can be good (or very bad) for your career.

Most workers have probably heard of FMLA, but how many really understand what it means, in terms of rights and limitations? Worse, a lot of employers don’t know where the line is. In this week’s roundup, Alison Green advises an Ask a Manager reader on what he can expect from FMLA. Plus, we learn why high school students should learn how to use social media, and how job hopping can be good (or very bad) for your career.

red phone 

(Photo Credit: Eric Kilby/Flickr)

Alison Green at Ask a Manager: My Company Wants Me to Work During FMLA Leave

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Can your company “make” you work during FMLA leave? In a recent post, a reader asks Green:

I am the only software developer at my employer. That means I am the only person with the knowledge, experience and skillset for several projects within the company. My wife and I are expecting our first child in the next few weeks. I will be taking time off under FMLA (which I am eligible for), and I verbally notified my company of this fact 6 months in advance of the due date. I also filled out the requisite forms 2 months in advance (as required by company policy).

In a department meeting, my boss casually mentioned that one of the executives was concerned what would happen if something broke during my absence. My boss told him (without consulting me), that they could call, and have me “VPN in” to fix something if it was broke. In my boss’ words, “he will still be around. He’s not going to be completely unavailable.” This conversation took place without any input from me. Is this a reasonable expectation, or would it constitute “FMLA interference”?

The answer might make you say “ugh,” but it’s worth knowing, in case you’re ever in this spot yourself, and want to make things run as smoothly as possible – both at the office, in your supposed absence, and at home.

Fatemeh Fakhraie: Social Media Education Is Needed in High School

“Anyone born after the 1980s is often described as a ‘digital native,’ especially the kids who have grown up with iPhones and Twitter,” writes Fakhraie. “But being digitally fluent isn’t the same as being digitally literate: just because young adults know how to use these social platforms doesn’t mean they’re fully aware of potential consequences, both online and off.”

Her solution? Educate kids about the pitfalls of social media when they’re least likely to think about the future, so that they don’t jeopardize it. Plus: emphasize the positive stories about the opportunities social media offers, if students learn how to use it to build their brand and make connections.

Chrissy Scivicque of Eat Your Career at Careerealism: Pros and Cons of Job Hopping

Is job hopping a career killer, or the only way to get ahead in today’s shifting professional environment? It depends on how frequently you do it, and why. The bottom line is to understand how changing jobs can be both a plus and a minus for your career. Scivicque explains what she learned from not job hopping – and how she came to see the upsides of making a change:

Out of everyone in my group of college friends, I was the only one who still had the same job two years after graduation. Everyone else had changed jobs once, twice, or even three times. So, I felt somewhat smug — as if I knew something they didn’t.

It wasn’t until many years later that I understood the positive side of job hopping. It hit me when I suddenly discovered I had forced myself to stay in a job I hated for five years. If only I had just left at the very beginning when I realized it wasn’t for me … maybe I wouldn’t have wasted all that time being miserable.

Of course, job hopping also involves a few pretty serious downsides. In order to make the best decisions in your career, it’s helpful to understand both the positive and negative aspects of bouncing around from one job to the next, and how it can impact your long-term goals.

Here‘s what she learned.

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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