Thursday, April 28, 2016

Roadmap to the FMLA

DOL publishes employer guide

Don’t we all just love administering the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) [insert sarcasm font]? Yeah, me neither. Like a lot of employment-related laws and regulations, it has so many moving parts and it can be pretty easy to run into trouble with one or more of those parts. But, now the DOL has published a guide to help make it easier.

The Employer’s Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act is 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." It answers some common questions employers have about the law’s requirements, using flowcharts and giving some "Did You Know" tips. This guide will be useful as a basic guide for companies with no HR function, or with HR folks who are a bit less experienced in FMLA.

It doesn’t however, go into, or give examples of, some of the more difficult issues employers face. For those situations that don’t seem to fit the standard examples, there’s nothing like your friendly neighborhood employment law attorney. Or, at a minimum, consulting some of the experts who regularly write on the subject in their blogs. Two of my go-to resources for some of the trickier FMLA (and other) issues are Jeff Nowak and his blog FMLA Insights and Eric Meyer at The Employer Handbook. Really. These guys nail it.

I do have to wonder why the DOL didn’t publish this guide a long time ago, maybe at the same time it published the Family and Medical Leave Act Employee Guide. After all, it’s the employer who has to administer the FMLA and bears the liability, yes? But, I guess better late than never is the best way to look at this.

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