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Apr 2009
20
April 20, 2009

Have You Updated Your FMLA Policy, Posting and Paperwork?

The U. S. Department of Labor's revised Family and Medical Leave Act regulations took effect on January 16, 2009. These regulations implemented the new military family leave entitlements and also made a number of changes to the FMLA’s notice requirements. Some of those changes require immediate attention by all covered employers even if they don’t have any employees currently on leave.

First, every covered employer is required to post the Department of Labor's new notice explaining employee rights and responsibilities under the FMLA. This notice can be found on the DOL’s Web site at: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/posters/fmla.htm. Electronic posting of the notice is sufficient so long as it includes all of the information in the DOL poster and is accessible to all employees.

Second, all covered employers must either distribute the notice to all employees or include the notice information in their handbook. Most employers are choosing to revise their handbook policies to include all of the new information. In the alternative, employers can include the actual Department of Labor posting in their handbook, provided there is nothing inconsistent with the poster in their existing FMLA policy.

Finally, all covered employers should know that the Department of Labor has substantially updated its FMLA forms to reflect the changes in the Act under the new regulations. Most employers choose to use these forms instead of generating their own. The updated forms, which include medical certification forms, a notice of eligibility form and FMLA designation notice are available on the Department of Labor's Web site: http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/index.htm#Forms.

All covered employers should make these changes as soon as possible. Employers who fail to make the required changes could be found guilty of "interfering" with FMLA rights if an employee can show harm as a result of the employer's failure to give a notice (e.g., he or she would not have taken the time off if he or she knew that it would not qualify as FMLA leave). If you have any questions about these new requirements or need any assistance revising your policies, you may contact any member of WNJ's Labor & Employment Law Practice Group.
 

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