My practice manager wants to telecommute while she recovers from knee surgery. Am I required to say yes?
As with most human resource questions, the answer is: it depends. It depends upon how you have handled such requests in the past. If you have allowed telecommuting, then you'll want to investigate whether it makes sense for an employee who is returning to work after illness or surgery to telecommute while recuperating.
When considering telecommuting make sure that the employee has been medically released to return to work and check to see what physical limitations exist, if any. You may want to tell your employee that a doctor must certify that he or she is able to work "in accordance with your normal fitness-for-duty policies."
Consider the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) impact. If the employee is on FMLA leave, remote work can extend the amount of available FMLA time for him or her.
Another consideration: your practice's short-term disability plan. Are partial benefits available?
Another factor to keep in mind is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which would affect how you would pay an employee who worked only a partial day. Non-exempt employees are paid for hours worked, but exempt employees must receive a salary that is not based on work quantity or quality. Review Department of Labor requirements before making any decisions, and then determine what is best for each employee's situation.