It's been 20 years since the Family and Medical Leave Act, more commonly known as the FMLA, was signed into law. What do employers need to remember about their FMLA responsibilities?
The groundbreaking law, signed by President Bill Clinton, serves to protect employees. Through its provisions, the Act places many responsibilities and duties on employers.
In brief, the FMLA allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for medical care, for the employee or for a family member. Some allowable reasons for leave under the FMLA include childbirth, adoption, or a serious medical illness.
While that's important to know, there are a few other FMLA stipulations that employers need to remember. Here are our Top 5 reminders:
- General notice. Employers must post a general FMLA notice that all employees can see. An FMLA poster should be displayed in the break room or lobby, or somewhere your workers often congregate.
- Individual notification. If an employee requests leave, the employer must let the employee know whether or not the request qualifies as FMLA leave. The employee doesn't expressly have to state that he or she is taking FMLA leave at the get-go. But once the employer determines that the leave is being taken pursuant to the FMLA, the employer must notify the employee to that extent.
- Continuation of benefits: While the employee is on FMLA leave, employers must continue to provide benefits for the duration of the worker's leave.
- Employee's job must be held for her upon return. One of the most important things to remember is the job security aspect of the FMLA. The employee must be reinstated to the same job at the same pay when he or she returns. If the position isn't available, it must be an equivalent position.
- Some small employers are exempt. FMLA doesn't apply to all employees, nor does it apply to all employers. For example, if you have fewer than 50 employees, the FMLA might not apply to you.
For more information on eligible employees under the FMLA and what the FMLA covers, check out FindLaw's Family & Medical Leave section, and download our free Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act, which you can share with your managers and employees.
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