DOL Employee FMLA Guide is Available
Department of Labor’s Plain Language FMLA Guide provides insight for employers
The Department of Labor (DOL) has recently released The Employee’s Guide to The Family Medical Leave Act to assist employees in understanding their rights under the law as well as what is required by both employees and employers. While this guide is aimed at employees and does not include all the nuances from the many court rulings over the years, it does provide employers with an idea of what the DOL expects should be the process.
The guide covers:
- Who can use FMLA? (Coverage and Eligibility)
- When can I use FMLA? (Qualifying reasons to take FMLA)
- What can the FMLA do for me? (FMLA rights and protections)
- How do I request FMLA leave?
- Communication with Employer (Employer and Employee Notices)
- Medical Certification
- Returning to Work (Reinstatement rights)
- How to File a Complaint
The guide also provides three visual guides (reproduced below) to assist employees in understanding if they are eligible, what the notification process is and what the certification process may entail.
While the flow charts make the process appear simple, there are many questions that are not answered within the pages of the new guide. However this document is a good starting point to help employers ensure their procedures are in line with what the DOL will expect should they receive a complaint regarding FMLA.
Do you have a policy in place? Have you reviewed your FMLA policies recently? Do you require certification? How do you notify employees that the leave has been designated as FMLA leave?
How you handle a leave of absence can have lasting ramifications for your organization. Now that the DOL has provided more guidance on how they envision the process it would be wise for employers to ensure they are in compliance to avoid costly lawsuits in the future.