The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released an updated version of the "Employee Rights Under the Family and Medical Leave Act" poster along with a new employer’s guide to help employers comply with the federal law. Please note that these changes pertain to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) laws; these are not updates to any state FMLA laws.
A Quick Review
As a reminder, private employers who employ 50 or more employees for at least 20 work weeks in the current or preceding calendar year must comply with the FMLA.
The FMLA provides eligible employees of covered employers with unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons, with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. The law also includes certain family military leave entitlements.
General FMLA Notice
The FMLA poster is also referred to as the “General FMLA Notice.” Covered employers are required to display the new poster or a copy of the General FMLA Notice in a prominent place where employees and applicants can see it. A poster must be displayed at all locations even if there are no employees eligible for FMLA leave. If a covered employer has any eligible employees, it must also provide the general notice to each employee by including it in an employee handbook or other written guidance explaining employee benefits, including FMLA. If no such written materials exist, the employer may distribute a copy of the general notice to each new employee upon hire.
According to the DOL, the new poster will not include a significant amount of new information. Rather, the information in the notice will be reorganized so that it’s more reader friendly. In addition, the DOL indicated that the February 2013 version of the FMLA poster is still valid and can be used to fulfill the posting requirement.
An Employer's Guide
In 2012, the DOL issued a guide to employees to help explain to them their rights under the FMLA. Now the DOL has issued a companion guide called the Employer’s Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act. The updated employer's guide is designed to provide information about employers' obligations under the law and the options available to employers in administering FMLA leave from beginning to end. Specific areas covered include:
- Covered employers under the FMLA and their general notice requirements;
- What to do when an employee needs FMLA leave;
- Qualifying reasons for leave;
- The certification process;
- Military family leave (different rules, applications and documentation);
- What to do during an employee's FMLA leave; and
- FMLA prohibitions.
The guide is user-friendly manner and is generally meant to address the frequent or common questions about the FMLA. The guide also contains easy to follow flowcharts and cartoons to explain the FMLA process and certifications. In addition the guide contains additional resources, examples, and citations for further information. There is also a section on lesser known FMLA provisions and applications but it should not be surprising, however, that the guide does not address the more challenging or controversial areas of FMLA. The updated guide can be found here:http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/employerguide.pdf