The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has been busy with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) this week!

New FMLA Poster

There is a new FMLA General Notice, aka FMLA poster: Employee Rights Under The Family and Medical Leave Act. The substantive information about the FMLA is generally the same as the February 2013 poster (the one you currently have posted), but the poster has been redesigned and the DOL’s contact information for “additional information or to file a complaint” is printed in much larger type and highlighted with a green background. The poster also includes a QR Code, which when scanned should take you to the DOL’s Wage & Hour Division home page.

The new poster is dated 04/16, so it is effective immediately. However, you do not have to immediately change the posters in your workplace because, per the DOL, the “February 2013 version of the FMLA poster is still good and can be used to fulfill the posting requirement.” (The DOL did not give any indication of when the February 2013 poster will expire.) This is good news if you have the all-in-one posters or have printed employee handbooks which contain a copy of the poster as part of your FMLA policy.

If you decide to start using the new poster now: 1. Update the electronic copies of the poster on your intranet site for employees and your on-line application site (Remember, the poster must be visible to your employees and applicants (29 C.F.R. §825.300(a)); 2. Print out the new poster in color (note: it requires legal size paper) and place over the existing FMLA posters in the workplace.

New Employer Guide

The Employer’s Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act” is a new publication, whose purpose is to:

provide essential information about the FMLA, including information about employer’s obligations under the law and the options available to employers in administering leave under the FMLA.

The Guide does not make any substantive changes to the FMLA. Rather, the Guide’s 7 chapters (totaling 76 pages with the introduction) walk employers through the FMLA regulations in order of a typical leave request starting with a visual roadmap of the full process. Each chapter contains several “Did You Know?” sections (identified with an orange and white question mark icon) to highlight particular requirements or recommended practices for employers and Reference sections (identified with a blue and white book icon) providing citations to the applicable FMLA regulation or Administrator Interpretation for that issue. Several chapters also contain graphics, flowcharts or other visual aids to illustrate the FMLA process (at least how the DOL envisions it) or the requirements of a particular regulation.

The Guide is easy to read. It can be a good initial resource to consult when looking at an issue, particularly if you cannot recall the number of the specific regulation for that issue. Of course, the Guide should never replace your review of the actual FMLA regulations or your consultation with a knowledgeable employment attorney.