U.S. DOL issues new FMLA guide for employers



In 2012, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a guide to assist employees in navigating the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA). On April 25, 2016, the DOL finally issued a companion guide for employers. The Employer’s Guide to the Family & Medical Leave Act (http://www.fmlainsights.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/311/2016/04/FMLA-Guide-for-Employers.pdf) is intended to provide “essential information about the FMLA, including information about employers’ obligations under the law and the options available to employer in administering leave under the FMLA.”

What this guide does well: The new employer guide provides a good synopsis of the FMLA, and it walks employers through the process of dealing with a typical leave process under the FMLA. As such, we believe that this guide will be most useful in providing a good overview of those processes to front-line supervisors or others who do not normally deal with the FMLA.

What the new guide does not do especially well: Because of its focus upon the typical leave situation, the new guide does not delve into the intricacies of the FMLA or attempt to tackle any of the more difficult issues arising under a non-typical leave situation. This should not come as a great surprise (particularly given that this is supposed to be simply a guide to the FMLA), but that fact will render this guide less useful for Human Resources experts who deal with the FMLA on a daily basis.

In addition to this new employer guide, the DOL has announced that it is creating a new General FMLA Notice, the job posting which must be posted in all workplaces by employers covered by the FMLA. Although we have not yet had an opportunity to examine this new notice, it does not appear that it will include any new or different information; rather, the DOL has indicated that the purpose of this new notice will be to better organize the existing materials so that they are readily understandable by employees.

These new changes do not present any grand new developments in a legal sense, but they certainly demonstrate the degree to which the DOL is attempting to clarify and streamline what can often be a complex, difficult-to-understand process.


If you have questions about this Employment Law Alert or wish to discuss the impact of this decision upon your business, please do not hesitate to contact Maury Nicely at Evans Harrison Hackett PLLC, 423/648-7851 or mnicely@ehhlaw.com.