Department of Labor Attempts to Make FMLA More Accessible

According to the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WDH), one of the greatest challenges they face in enforcing the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is “that too often, employees are unaware that they have rights under the FMLA, or that the FMLA even exists.” The FMLA is described as “very technical, unwieldy, and can be difficult to understand, even for experienced practitioners.” In an effort to make the FMLA more accessible, the Department of Labor (DOL) released “Need Time? The Employee’s Guide to The Family and Medical Leave Act.” The plain language booklet was intentionally designed to help both employees and employers navigate the complexities of FMLA administration.

Specifically, the guide addresses:

  • Who can use FMLA?
  • When can I use FMLA?
  • What can the FMLA do for me?
  • How do I request FMLA leave?
  • Communication with Employer
  • Medical Certification
  • Returning to Work
  • How to file a complaint

Also included are three easy-to-follow flow charts that detail how FMLA coverage and eligibility are determined, maps out the FMLA leave process and the FMLA medical certification process. The guide defines the “serious health conditions” for which an employee may request FMLA leave and also the definition of “son or daughter,” included in loco parentis relationships even if the employee has no biological or legal relationship to the child, as provided in the Department’s June 2012 FMLA Administration Interpretation.

 Most importantly, detailed information regarding how an employee can file a FMLA complaint with the WHD if they believe their FMLA rights have been violated is included.  View “Need Time? The Employee’s Guide to The Family and Medical Leave Act” in its entirety.