20 Years of FMLA & Regulatory Compliance Remains More of a Challenge Than Ever
REMINDER: All employers covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (”FMLA”) were mandated by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to display the new FMLA poster by March 8, 2013.
Background: Twenty years ago, President Bill Clinton signed the FMLA into law. The law, requiring all employers with 50 or more employees to provide job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons, ranks as one of the most insidious and complicated federal statutes for employers. Instead of using the FMLA’s 20th anniversary as a catalyst to provide FMLA clarifications, the DOL instead, issued additional federal regulations that implement statutory changes ensuring the FMLA will continue to be one of the biggest compliance headaches for covered employers.
Poster Revisions: The poster revisions include the updated language outlining the rights involving military leave, military caregiver leave, the expansion of the number of families of veterans covered, an expanded definition of a covered service member to include veterans discharged within the past five years under conditions other than dishonorable and the FMLA eligibility update for flight attendants and airline flight crews. To download a copy of the poster, click here .
Compliance: One of the top violations of the FMLA is a company’s failure to adequately display the poster. To comply, the poster must be displayed in “a conspicuous place where employees and applicants for employment can see it.” As long as your company is covered under the FMLA, a poster must be displayed at all company locations.
Statutory Changes: In addition to the new poster requirements, by issuing regulations that became effective on March 8, 2013, the DOL seeks to finally implement the statutory changes resulting from the FMLA amendments that Congress made several years ago. Those amendments broadened coverage for both military caregiver leave and qualifying exigency leave and at the same time provided protection for airline attendants who because of technical eligibility requirements were excluded from FMLA coverage. For easy reference, the DOL has prepared a side-by-side comparison of the changes.
Ensuring Compliance: For those employers covered under the FMLA, remaining compliant is crucial. In addition to taming the intermittent leave and reduced schedule beast, including FMLA abuse and fraud, employers must get a handle on the latest expansions or risk noncompliance. Even the savviest of human resource departments get tripped up with FMLA record-keeping. To ensure compliance, we can assist your company institute effective solutions that will provide your administrators with greater confidence in making and managing FMLA decisions.
Contributors: Jimmy Robinson, Troutman Sanders Tobacco Practice