FMLA UPDATE: 75 PAGE “EMPLOYERS’ GUIDE TO THE FMLA” ISSUED, AS WELL AS REVISED FMLA POSTER.

by Employment Attorney Leslie Lockard
The Law Office of Leslie Lockard, P.C.
P.O. Box 537
Walpole, MA 02081
Tel. 508 850-9800
FAX 508 850-9801
Email: Llockard@leslielockard.com
Website: www.LeslieLockard.com
May 17, 2016

The US Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a 75 page “EMPLOYER’S GUIDE TO THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT”. The Guide provides an overview of employers’ complex FMLA obligations, and provides some insight into the DOL’s current interpretation of the law. The Guide can be accessed or downloaded at Employer’s Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act (pdf). Although this Guide does not answer some of the more difficult questions that arise in FMLA administration, it does describe the basics in more understandable form, and thus may be a helpful resource for employers.

The DOL has also issued a revised FMLA rights poster that covered employers are required to post “in a conspicuous place where employees and applicants for employment can see it”. A poster must be displayed at all employer locations, even at locations where there are no FMLA-eligible employees. The DOL says that the previous FMLA poster it issued in 2013 is “still good”, so for now, if you have the 2013 version posted, you need not replace it right away with the new poster.

TO WHICH PRIVATE EMPLOYERS DOES THE FMLA APPLY?

A private employer is covered by the FMLA if it employs 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or previous calendar year. An employee is considered to be employed each working day of the calendar week if the employee works any part of the week. The workweeks do not have to be consecutive.

Employees who must be counted include:
- Any employee whose name appears on payroll records, whether or not any compensation is received for the workweek,

- Any employee on paid or unpaid leave (including FMLA leave, leaves of absences, disciplinary suspension, etc.), as long as there is a reasonable expectation the employee will return to active employment,

- Part-time, temporary, seasonal, and full-time employees.
WHAT RESOURCES DOES THE NEW EMPLOYER GUIDE CONTAIN?

Employers may find helpful the Employer’s Guide’s explanations of:
  1. When employers should provide “FMLA rights”, “FMLA Eligibility” and “FMLA Designation” notices to an FMLA-requesting employee; and the required contents of those notices
     
  2. The importance of training supervisors to recognize when an employee has provided enough information to put the employer on notice that his/her reason for being absent may be FMLA-covered (thus giving rise to various FMLA rights and employer notice obligations)
     
  3. The various circumstances that may entitle an eligible employee to FMLA leave:

    --The birth of a child and to bond with the newborn child within one year of birth,

    --The placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to bond with the newly-placed child within one year of placement,

    --A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her job, including incapacity due to pregnancy and for prenatal medical care,

    --To care for the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition, including incapacity due to pregnancy and for prenatal medical care,

    --Any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a military member on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status,

    --To care for a covered service member with a “serious injury or illness” when the employee is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of the service member.
     
  4. The types of medical conditions that qualify as “serious health conditions”, and when and how employers can seek “certifications” to verify FMLA leave eligibility.
     
  5. What information in a medical certification the employer must accept as sufficient (For example, the medical provider need not necessarily include the employee’s medical diagnosis in certifying the employee’s need for FMLA leave. The requesting employee also need not necessarily disclose his/her diagnosis to the employer, as long as enough information is provided for the employer to determine that the leave is FMLA qualifying);
     
  6. How to count the amount of FMLA leave an employee has available when a requested leave starts, for example, if the employer uses the “one year look back” method;
     
  7. What happens if an employee first meets FMLA eligibility requirements while he/she is already out on sick leave

    Employers may want to review this Guide to make sure that they are complying correctly with the FMLA’s many complex requirements and procedures.









Testimonials

"I have never experienced such responsiveness in an attorney!"


 

Contact Info

Attorney Leslie Lockard
The Law Office of Leslie Lockard, P.C.
P.O. Box 537
Walpole, MA 02081
Tel. 508 850-9800
FAX 508 850-9801
Email: Llockard@leslielockard.com
Website: www.LeslieLockard.com