Why it matters

In Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) news, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced the arrival of a new poster and released new guidance on the statute for employers. Pursuant to the statute, employers must "prominently" post a copy of the General FMLA Notice in each location "where it can be readily seen by employees and applicants for employment," regardless of whether there are any FMLA-eligible employees at that location. The revamped poster does not contain new information, the agency explained, but was reorganized to be more reader-friendly. Similarly, the "Employer's Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act" doesn't feature new interpretations of the law but answers common questions about the statute, intended to "provide essential information about the FMLA, including information about employers' obligations under the law and the options available to employers in administering leave under the FMLA." The guide includes a "Road Map to the FMLA" offering an overview of the statutory process with flowcharts and "Did You Know?" sections about key provisions of the statute.

Detailed discussion

Hoping to aid employers with Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) compliance, the Department of Labor (DOL) published a more reader-friendly version of the notice mandated by the statute as well as new guidance.

The FMLA mandates that employers display—and keep displayed—a poster prepared by the DOL summarizing the major provisions of the statute and informing employees how to file a complaint. The poster must be displayed "in a conspicuous place" where employees and applicants can see it, and displayed at all locations even if there are no FMLA-eligible employees present.

While the DOL said the new poster is easier on the eyes, the prior version "is still good," the agency said, and can be used to fulfill the posting requirement.

The agency also published new guidance, "The Employer's Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act." The 76-page guide "is designed to provide essential information about the FMLA, including information about employers' obligations under the law and the options available to employers in administering leave under the FMLA," the EEOC explained.

Organized to correspond to the order of events from an employee's leave request through medical certification to restoration of the employee to the same or equivalent job at the end of the employee's FMLA leave, the guide features an 11-step road map beginning with a determination that an employer is a covered entity.

Scattered throughout the guidance are "Did You Know?" sections highlighting specific facts about the statute. For example, one section explains that two (or more) businesses may simultaneously employ a worker, making them joint employers; another section notes that the FMLA does not require employees to use any specific certification form, listing half a dozen options.

The EEOC also included a chapter on military family leave as well as a chapter summarizing FMLA prohibitions for employers.

To view the DOL's new FMLA poster, click here.

To read the new guidance, click here.