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Even though you’re tasked with doing pretty much everything to keep your small business operating smoothly, you’re not expected to be an expert in human resources. HR laws can be super complex, even if you only have to worry about a handful of employees. And if you don’t comply – that could mean big penalties for your business.
One of the laws our HR Advisory service frequently gets questions about is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
To refresh: The FMLA enables eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. Please note that this is a federal law and individual states may have other requirements for leave.
Follow the nine steps below to create and maintain a compliant FMLA policy for your small business.
If you meet one of those three criteria, the DOL says that you are considered a covered employer.
Generally, employers are able to select one of four options to establish the 12-month period to be uniformly applied to all employees who take FMLA leave. This fact sheet explains these measurement periods in depth.
Just like the other list of labor law posters you’re required to post, this notice should be displayed in a conspicuous place where your employees can view them. Find more information about this particular poster here. (By the way, we can provide these for you. Click this link to learn more.)
According to the Wage and Hour Division of the DOL, here are the qualifying reasons. (Please click here to learn more details.)
Of course these are general, and you should visit the link above to get into the specifics of these reasons, including the DOL’s definition of a spouse and parent.
Effective communication is key when administering a successful FMLA policy. Want proof? Just check out this recent case where the court ruled that a New Jersey employer violated FMLA for failing to provide calculation of when leave expires.
Click here to learn more details about this step.
Here’s a great fact sheet from the DOL that will help explain this step.
Under this step, you’ll also need to determine how benefits will be handled following exhaustion of FMLA leave per your company policy and plan requirements.
Remember, FMLA entitles eligible employees to take unpaid leave. But under certain conditions, employees may substitute (or run at the same time as their FMLA leave) accrued paid leave to cover some or all of the period of FMLA leave. You can learn more about this step by clicking here.
If you peek back at No. 5 on this list, you know just how important communication is. That’s why this fact is getting its own bullet point!
In general, an employee is entitled to return to the same position he or she held when leave began, or to an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment. Learn more about this step here.
Did you know? When you sign up for PrimePay’s HR Advisory, you’ll have access to checklists just like this as well as a host of other resources to meet your small business needs. Click here to learn more.
Disclaimer: Please note that this is not all inclusive. Our guidance is designed only to give general information on the issues actually covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all laws which may be applicable to your situation, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice, or render a legal opinion. Consult your own legal advisor regarding specific application of the information to your own plan.