Good news for employers struggling to explain the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to employees. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently released an Employee Guide to the FMLA, a 16-page, plain language booklet designed to "answer common FMLA questions and clarify who can take FMLA leave and what protections the FMLA provides," according to DOL.
The FMLA Employee Guide specifically addresses a number of FMLA requirements, such as:
- Who can use FMLA? (Coverage and Eligibility)
- When can I use FMLA? (Qualifying reasons to take FMLA)
- What can the FMLA do for me? (FMLA rights and protections)
- How do I request FMLA leave?
- Communication with Employer (Employer and Employee Notices)
- Medical Certification
- Returning to Work (Reinstatement rights)
- How to File a Complaint
The Employee Guide includes several flow charts that detail how FMLA coverage and eligibility are determined, map out the FMLA leave process and how the FMLA medical certification process works. The "Certification At A Glance" flowchart appears below this article.
The Guide also addresses the FMLA definition of "son or daughter", including in loco parentis relationships even if the employee has no biological or legal relationship to the child. And, it provides detailed information on how an employee can file an FMLA complaint with the WHD if they believe their FMLA rights have been violated.
To introduce the new guidance, DOL recently held a webinar that walked through the basic provisions of the FMLA using the new Employee Guide and answered the public’s general FMLA questions.
Susan Schoenfeld, J.D., is a Senior Legal Editor for BLR’s human resources and employment law publications. Ms. Schoenfeld has practiced in the area of employment litigation and counseling, covering topics such as disability discrimination, wrongful discharge, sexual harassment, and general employment discrimination. She has litigated numerous cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals, state court, and at the U.S. Department of Labor. In addition to litigating employment cases in state and federal court, she provided training and counseling to corporate clients regarding employment-related issues. Prior to entering private practice, Ms. Schoenfeld was an attorney with the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C., where she advised federal agencies, drafted regulations, conducted inspector training courses, and litigated cases for the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the Directorate of Civil Rights, and the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Ms. Schoenfeld received her undergraduate degree, cum laude, with honors, from Union College, and her law degree from the National Law Center at George Washington University.
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