There are many laws and regulations that employers must comply with and continue to monitor for changes. One law that impacts larger employers is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a federal law that requires covered employers to provide unpaid leave to eligible employees for certain qualifying health and family issues, as well as for service in the military. The FMLA was enacted in 1993 and is enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Under the Act, covered employers must post the FMLA poster in each of their locations where it can be readily seen by employees and applicants for employment. Where a significant portion of the employer's workforce is not proficient in English, the employer must provide the notice in the language in which the employees are literate. Willful failure to post the required FMLA notice may result in a civil money penalty by the US DOL, Wage and Hour Division not to exceed $110 for each separate offense. Employers should be aware that other notice provisions, besides the FMLA poster, also exist under the Act.
For businesses, this means that failing to provide employees with the required FMLA notifications could have detrimental effects on operations, perhaps in the form of compliance violations, costly fines and even lawsuits.
What exactly is on the FMLA poster?
The poster provides information including but not limited to: leave entitlement, military leave entitlement, benefits and protections, employee responsibilities and employer responsibilities.
For employers covered by the FMLA, displaying the FMLA poster provided by the US DOL is mandatory. In addition to displaying a poster, a covered employer who has any eligible employees also must provide a general notice containing the same information that is in the poster in its employee handbook (or other written material about leave and benefits). If no handbook or written leave materials exist, the employer must distribute this general notice to new employees upon hire.
The U.S. DOL FMLA poster that employers must display in all their locations was recently updated. The most recent version was required to be posted by covered employers as of March 8, 2013. The poster, along with many other resources related to compliance with the FMLA, is available on the Department of Labor website at www.dol.gov.
Why are the FMLA materials important?
Some companies may think that not displaying the FMLA poster or complying with the other notice requirements under the Act couldn't possibly be such a big deal. After all, it is a task that can easily slip owners' and managers' minds when compared to other pressing business matters. However, this is something that companies must ensure is done.
Employers are required to post the U.S. DOL FMLA poster in each business location. Willful failure to do so may result in a fine of $110 for each separate offense. While this might be seen as a minimal expense, it can quickly add up depending on how many locations are impacted. Perhaps more importantly, businesses could run into legal troubles if they fail to comply with all the provisions of the FMLA.
Paychex can help employers understand their FMLA obligations and ensure they have access to the most up-to-date FMLA posting. Reach out today for more information.