Iowa hires contractor to track medical absences by state employees, make FMLA decisions

MarketsAssociated Press

Iowa's state government is hiring a company to track employees' medical absences at a cost of $32,000 per month.

State officials say the goal is to improve the state's inconsistent implementation of the Family and Medical Leave Act and curb any abuse.

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But many state employees are questioning the cost and motivation behind the contract with the Reed Group, Ltd. The president of the state's largest employees union said Tuesday he's considering a legal challenge to the program, which takes effect July 1.

Under the change, state human resources employees will no longer be involved in determining when employees qualify for FMLA. Instead, those decisions will be made by the Colorado-based contractor.

The contract covers 21,500 state employees, who will have to report most medical absences to the Reed Group.