- The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division has released an updated set of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms for employers.
- There's nothing different about these forms compared to the previous set — save an updated expiration date — according to a blog post by Jeff Nowak, co-chair of Franczek Radelet's labor and employment practice.
- The previous forms were set to expire Aug. 31, but the new ones, available now, will be valid through Aug. 31, 2021, attorneys with Epstein Becker Green wrote for The National Law Review.
It's been a fairly active week for DOL, which recently released a second round of opinion letters, including two on the FMLA. In one, the agency effectively signed off on an employer's no-fault attendance policy, in which employees on leave had their attendance "points" frozen during FMLA leave. In the other, DOL specified that employees could qualify for FMLA leave after donating an organ.
Leave laws remain a source of stress for HR, especially as they intersect with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Employment law experts continue to maintain that a thorough, interactive process between both sides is the surest way to provide a solid base for compliance. That means regular communication and an abundance of information sharing, as well as training to ensure that managers know how to recognize and respond to leave requests.
Additionally, HR must ensure that the FMLA's notice requirements are met; that's where DOL's forms come in. While employers aren't required to use the agency's forms, many choose to do so because much of the information they contain must be incorporated into custom forms as well. DOL has very rigid requirements for FMLA notices, and employers often run afoul of them, creating major violations with seemingly minor infractions. But more often than not, it's human interactions — not use of the forms — that derail an employer's leave processes. It may be helpful for HR to keep a line-by-line cheat sheet on hand to keep things as simple as possible.