Employers who fall within the definition of “qualifying employers” under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) should be aware of recent updates which took effect this past March, and which require the use of updated FMLA forms from the U.S. Department of Labor. Legislative updates to various provisions relating to military and airline flight crew leave require employers to use updated forms and to post the revised FMLA poster for their employees. “Qualifying employers” include private employers with 50 or more employees company wide, as well as all public employers.
The new FMLA poster must be “displayed in a conspicuous place where employees and applicants for employment can see it,” and qualifying employers are required to place FMLA posters at all employment locations, regardless of whether eligible employees work there. Qualifying employers must also provide general notice of the same information contained in the poster either in their employee handbooks or by distributing the information to new employees when hired. Willful violation of the posting requirement can result in a civil monetary penalty of $110 for each separate offense, and neglecting to follow the FMLA notice requirements can also amount to “interference with an individual’s FMLA rights” giving rise to private lawsuits and civil liability.
The most recent changes to the FMLA include provisions for employees affected by a family member’s National Guard or Reserve duties (in addition to those outlined for Regular Armed Forces members) which originally took effect in 2008 and 2009, but were recently finalized. These changes allow employees to use FMLA time to deal with the variety of extenuating circumstances that arise when a Guard or Reserve family member is deployed, including the ability to attend military events, make alternative financial, legal or child care arrangements, and to allow for attendance at counseling sessions or after-deployment briefings and reintegration.
Wright Beamer maintains a database including the updated FMLA forms and poster. If you would like to receive a copy of the updated forms or the updated FMLA poster via email, please contact Donna Stewart at email@example.com.