The United States Department of Labor, the DOL, has released an updated version of the Family and Medical Leave Act poster. The new poster boasts a new color scheme and layout. There are no new changes in the contents of the poster as there haven’t been any changes in the law.
The DOL requires all covered employers to display a poster in the workplace that summarizes FMLA and provides information on how to file a complaint. The DOL requires that the poster be hung in a place that is clearly visible to employees and applicants. Employers can be fined up to $204 for each offense that willfully violates the posting requirement. Since the law hasn’t changed, the February 2013 and April 2016 versions still fulfill the DOL’s posting requirement.
The poster invites employees to call the DOL or visit its website to learn more about FMLA. There’s also a QR code that employees can use to access more information about the complaint process. Employees can file a complaint with the DOL or a private lawsuit if they believe their FMLA rights have been violated.
Now is a great time for employers to refresh their memory on FMLA requirements to ensure they’re compliant.
Who’s eligible for FMLA?
Eligible employees work for a covered employer for at least one year, have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months before their leave, and the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles of the employee’s work location.
The FMLA provides eligible employees with job-protected, unpaid leave for up to 12 workweeks per year. An employee may take FMLA for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child; a serious mental or physical health condition that makes them unable to work; to care for their spouse, child, or parent with a serious mental or physical health condition; and certain reasons related to the foreign deployment of a spouse, child, or parent who serves in the military. In some circumstances involving military service members, employees may be eligible to take up to 26 weeks of leave. Employees may take this leave in one block of time or intermittently when it’s medically necessary or allowed.
To request FMLA, the employee must follow the employer’s normal policies for requesting leave and give notice of at least 30 days before the leave or as soon as possible. Employees don’t need to disclose their diagnosis but must provide enough information for the employer to determine whether the leave falls under FMLA protection. Employers can request a note from a health care provider to verify that a medical leave is necessary.
What’s a covered employer?
Covered employers include private employers with at least 50 employees during at least 20 workweeks in the current or previous calendar year; elementary and public or private secondary schools; and public agencies, such as a local, state, or federal government agency. Covered employers need to protect the employee’s job throughout the leave. The employer must continue the employee’s group health plan coverage throughout the leave. The employee must be permitted to return to the same job or a virtually-identical position with the same pay, benefits, and other working conditions.
Once an employer determines that an individual is eligible, it must notify the employee in writing about their FMLA rights and responsibilities and how much of their requested leave will be FMLA-protected.
Notably, employers can’t retaliate against employees that request FMLA leave.
We’re expecting the DOL to publish more updated posters in the coming weeks. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is currently updating its “Know Your Rights” poster to account for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which goes into effect in June. Of course, we’ll keep you up to date when this new version is released!