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Real question and answer from the hotline:

Question:  Can we replace an employee on an approved leave of absence with a temporary employee who is now doing the job (the temporary employee is doing a better job)?

Answer:  Given the fact that you have placed the employee on an approved Family and Medical Leave Act leave and that leave period has not expired, then under the FMLA you must provide the job and benefits protection for the duration of the approved leave. The requirement under the law is to return the employee to his/her “original job, or to an equivalent job with equivalent pay, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment.” For more information about the  rules and requirements under the FMLA law please follow the link below. When your employee returns from leave, we recommend that you share with him/her the work that the temporary employee did during his/her absence and what you liked about the work so that the employee has an opportunity to learn from and provide that same level of performance.

http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs28.htm