News for Employers: New Guide for FMLA

DOL-Employer-guide-300x180

The Department of Labor has just released its newest publication – “The Employer’s Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act.” This new FMLA Guide appears to be an an attempt to make the FMLA more “user friendly” to employers. The guide appears designed to help walk employers through the FMLA process.

The Guide follows FMLA regulations as an employer will experience them, starting with determining who is a covered employer through charting the typical course of an employee’s request for leave. The Guide is easy to follow and informative. One of the highlights is a very useful flowchart, the “Road Map to the FMLA,” which provides a concise explanation of the whole FMLA process. Some might also find it entertaining, with interactive cartoons to help explain the regulations.

One of the most common mistakes I see among my clients who run businesses with employees is the tendency to react to leave requests in a “knee-jerk” manner, with employers trying to grant FMLA leave before first determining eligibility of the employee for leave. The roadmap is an excellent reminder for running through the process of making sure that the employer is even covered by the FMLA, and then if the employee is actually eligible for leave. For example, some employer clients will grant a medical leave but not realize that the employee is not eligible because of a failure to have worked enough hours, or the employee’s worksite is not covered.

I believe this guide will prove to be the “go-to” reference for smaller companies and HR professionals. Of course, any time employers are not sure how to interpret the FMLA , they should consult legal counsel.

A pdf copy of the guide is available here:

http://jrusslaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/FMLA-Guide-for-Employers.pdf

At the same time the Department of Labor announced the publication of the Guide, it also announced that employers will be required to display a new FMLA poster. The Department has yet to publish the new poster, but insists it will contain nothing new. The poster is also supposed to be more “user friendly.” version. I will try to update my clients when the poster is published.