Category Archives: DOL Initiatives

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DOL Continues to Warn Employers of Investigation of Systemic FMLA Issues

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of presenting on complex FMLA issues at the American Bar Association’s Annual Labor and Employment conference. During the session, entitled “The FMLA 20 Years Later,” we covered key FMLA notice and medical certification issues and other difficult FMLA scenarios. Notably, one of my co-panelists, Andrea Appel, Regional Counsel for Civil … Continue Reading

Obama Administration Announces Proposed Rule Extending FMLA Leave Rights for Same-Sex Couples

The Department of Labor announced today a proposed rule that would allow an employee to take FMLA leave to care for a same-sex spouse, regardless of whether the employee lives in a state that recognizes their marital status.  As expected, the DOL has adopted a “state of celebration” rule, in which a spousal status for purposes of … Continue Reading

New DOL FMLA Branch Chief: Expect Even More On-Site FMLA Investigations and Focus on Systemic FMLA Compliance Issues

This past December, the Department of Labor quietly turned its FMLA enforcement over to a new leader. After the retirement of FMLA Branch Chief Diane Dawson, who led the DOL’s FMLA enforcement for several years, the DOL turned to longtime DOL FMLA policy guru Helen Applewhaite to head up the agency’s FMLA efforts.  (DOL doesn’t … Continue Reading

DOL Publishes Spanish Version of its FMLA Poster; Employers Should Consider their Obligation to Post

Over the past several months, a number of employers have asked me when the Department of Labor would be issuing the Spanish version of its new DOL poster (which accounts for the new regulations issued earlier this year).  The time has come – the poster is here.  Under the FMLA, an FMLA-covered employer must post … Continue Reading

DOL Issues ERISA Guidance on Same-Sex Marriage; Is FMLA Guidance Next?

We have been sitting on the edge of our seat [ok, perhaps I’m on the seat alone] as we await the Department of Labor’s anticipated regulations interpreting how the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision impacts the definition of “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act. As you may recall, I predicted earlier this year that … Continue Reading

Take 2: Does Annual FMLA Certification First Require an Employee's Absence?

The feedback from last week’s blog post on annual FMLA certification came fast and furious.  Most of it was complimentary (thank you!), but several of my fellow FMLA nerds raised an interesting issue.  They noted that the FMLA regulation covering “annual” certifications does not specifically state that the certification in the new FMLA year must … Continue Reading

DOL Busts Employer for Requiring Annual Medical Certification without Leave Request

The DOL is on a roll, and employers can’t be amused. Over the past few months, the Department of Labor seemingly has issued statement after statement after statement announcing settlements it has reached with various employers in conjunction with alleged FMLA violations. Heck, DOL now even has its own blog highlighting its recent FMLA enforcement. [Hey, … Continue Reading

DOL Publishes PowerPoint Presentation to Help Train Employees about FMLA

This week, I had the privilege of presenting on the “Nuts and Bolts” of the FMLA with Department of Labor Branch Chief for FMLA, Diane Dawson.  Our presentation was part of an FMLA/ADAAA compliance conference hosted by the Disability Management Employers’ Coalition (DMEC).  [My unsolicited opinion: DMEC is a fabulous non-profit organization devoted to integrated disability and absence … Continue Reading

Employers Must Begin Using Updated FMLA Forms and Poster Starting March 8, 2013

Earlier this month, the Department of Labor issued final new rules regarding the amendments to military family leave, flight crew eligibility and a handful of other relatively minor issues.  At the time, I covered those changes at some length here.  Perhaps a bit lost in the changes to the regulations, however, is the obligation to begin using updated FMLA notice and … Continue Reading

DOL Issues Final Rule Implementing FMLA Amendments Expanding Military Family Leave and Leave for Airline Flight Crew Members

This week, the Department of Labor released its final rule implementing the Family and Medical Leave Act amendments under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010 (NDAA) and the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act (AFCTCA).  The final regulation also revises a handful of existing regulatory provisions, and removes the model FMLA forms from the appendices of … Continue Reading

The FMLA Turns 20 Today; The DOL Celebrates with Curious Survey Results About the Use of FMLA

Happy 20th Birthday, FMLA!  On February 5, 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act, making it the very first piece of legislation he signed into law as President.     Congrats on making it into your third decade, FMLA. Over the last two, however, you’ve given employers one hell of a ride! … Continue Reading

DOL Issues Guidance on "Caring for an Adult Child" Under the FMLA

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor issued an Administrator’s Interpretation (AI) to clarify the factors an employer must consider when an employee requests leave to care for an adult child.   As we know, an otherwise eligible employee is entitled to FMLA leave to care for a child with a serious health condition. Under the … Continue Reading

DOL's New Employee Guide to the FMLA Issued: What's the Impact on Employers?

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a 16-page FMLA guide that the DOL says is “designed to answer common FMLA questions and clarify who can take FMLA leave and what protections the FMLA provides.”  Entitled “Need Time? The Employee’s Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act,” the Guide apparently was created out … Continue Reading

DOL to Host a Complimentary Webinar Tomorrow to Discuss Basics of FMLA

On Wednesday, June 27 (tomorrow!), the Department of Labor will host a complimentary webinar to assist employers and employees in better understanding the Family and Medical Leave Act.  According to the DOL’s press release highlighting the webinar, it believes “too many workers don’t know about their rights under the FMLA and fail to take advantage of … Continue Reading

It's a Fact: Employers Often Can Designate FMLA Leave in Longer Increments Than the Actual Leave Taken

In a recent post, I discussed an employer’s obligation to designate leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act even though the employee did not want it to be classified as FMLA leave.  The post generated considerable feedback and some follow-up questions.  I wanted to highlight one of those questions.  One of our blog followers (see right hand … Continue Reading

DOL Extends Comment Period for Proposed FMLA Regulations to April 30, 2012

On February 15, the Department of Labor published proposed regulations to the Family and Medical Leave Act in three specific areas: 1) Military Family Leave; 2) Flight Crew FMLA Eligibility; and 3) the manner in which employers calculate increments of FMLA leave.  We summarized those changes here. Public comments originally were due by April 16, 2012.  However, … Continue Reading

DOL Proposes FMLA Regulatory Changes Regarding Military Family Leave, Flight Crew Eligibility and How Employers Calculate FMLA Leave

On January 30, 2012, the U.S. Department of Labor announced proposed changes to Family and Medical Leave Act regulations (pdf) in three specific areas: 1) Military Family Leave; 2) Flight Crew FMLA Eligibility; and 3) the manner in which employers calculate increments of FMLA leave.  Rules for the first two have been expected for some time, … Continue Reading

Reports: FMLA Regulatory Changes To Be Announced Later Today regarding Military Family Leave?

Various news outlets and web sites, including the Washington Post, Fox News and MilitaryFamily.com, have reported that the Department of Labor will propose various changes today to Family and Medical Leave Act regulations regarding military family leave.   Fox reports that Secretary Hilda Solis will make the announcement with First lady Michelle Obama.  According to the web reports, … Continue Reading

The Best of FMLA from 2011 and What's In Store for Employers in 2012

First, a heartfelt THANK YOU for following our FMLA Insights blog in 2011.  In 2011, our most popular blog entries involved two general topics: 1) employers’ best practices for FMLA administration; and 2) leave as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA when FMLA leave ends.  We share these posts again below, since we believe the guidance … Continue Reading

The DOL's Holiday Gift for the Plaintiff's Bar

  Shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday, the Obama administration’s “Middle Class Task Force” announced a new program in which the U.S. Department of Labor will partner with the American Bar Association to refer complaints under the FMLA and federal wage and hour laws to private plaintiffs’ attorneys. Here is an excerpt from the ABA’s press … Continue Reading
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