Legal

Labor Department Publishes New Employer FMLA Guide

By Jon Hyman

Apr. 26, 2016

Since I recently cut a check to the IRS for the balance due on my taxes, I thought I’d take today’s space to review how the federal government spends our tax dollars. Today’s examination? The Department of Labor’s newest publication, The Employer’s Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act [pdf]

According to the DOL, this 71-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 Guide is organized to correspond to the order of events from an employee’s leave request to restoration of the employee to the same or equivalent job at the end of the employee’s FMLA leave.

So, has the DOL wisely spent our tax dollars in publishing this new FMLA guide? After reviewing the Guide, I have to concur with the thoughts of Jeff Nowak, who, at his FMLA Insight’s blog, who summarized his conclusions about this Guide:

“1. It follows the FMLA regulations and the course of a typical leave request in a relative orderly manner. 

“2. It contains easy to follow flowcharts so that employers can better understand the typical FMLA process, including a cute little “Road Map to the FMLA” that provides an overview of the FMLA process. You’ll even find some interactive cartoons along the way to further explain the regulations. 

“3. It includes “Did You Know?” sections to give employers a heads-up on some of the lesser-known provisions and nuances of the FMLA regulations. 

“4. It highlights user-friendly charts and explanation of the medical certification process, including what information is required in certifications. 

“5. It provides a helpful overview of military family leave, which often can be a bit overwhelming to employers attempting to navigate this portion of the FMLA.”

Look at it this way. For companies with 50 or more employees, the FMLA ranks very highly on the list of HR headaches. If this guide answers even one question for an employer, it has justified its publication.

Jon Hyman is a partner in the Employment & Labor practice at Wickens Herzer Panza. Contact Hyman at JHyman@Wickenslaw.com.

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