It’s always fun to get an email from the Department of Labor (DOL) that has information helpful to employers. It happens. Really. The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division just released its new The Employer’s Guide to The Family and Medical Leave Act. This Guide, arrived hot off the press in my email inbox this morning, is intended to “provide assistance to employers and help increase their knowledge of the law”, by providing essential FMLA information concerning employers’ duties under the law, and options on how to properly administer such leaves.
Keep in mind that this is only a GUIDE, and is not a substitute for keeping abreast of changes in the law, state or local laws and ordinances that would provide greater protections to the employee, and case law that interprets the FMLA differently. I’d think of it like a GPS – it can help you navigate to a certain extent but isn’t always reliable; if not updated with the latest software it may have bugs, not recognize construction, and eventually gets out of date. It can help you navigate to a certain area, but then you should verify that what you found is indeed correct (recall that Google Maps error causing the wrong house to be demolished!). A defense to any action is not “the DOL’s Guide said so”!
In addition, the DOL issued a new Employee Rights FMLA poster with a revision date of 4/2016. The old posters are just fine and can still be used, but the new poster is, well, prettier? Not much more to say here – just be sure if you are a covered employer that you have the notice posted in a “conspicuous place where employees and applicants for employment can see it” and at all locations.