Government plans changes designed to improve family leave law compliance and make forms easier to use.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is seeking public comments on proposed revisions to optional use forms that the Department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) uses to administer the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
The revisions, according to WHD, are designed to make the forms easier to understand for employers, leave administrators, healthcare providers, and employees seeking leave. The agency expects the changes to increase compliance with and administration of the law, as well as improve customer service. “Workers succeed when they know they don’t have to choose between taking care of themselves or a loved one, and keeping a job,” said Cheryl Stanton, WHD administrator. She further noted, “Proposing these changes to improve compliance under the Family and Medical Leave Act is a win for workers and employers. It’s an important step forward to meet the needs of the rapidly changing 21st century economy.”
The Department of Labor is especially interested in comments that:
· Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the agency’s functions, including whether the information will have practical utility.
· Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected.
· Evaluate the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used.
· Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.
It is important to ensure that your employees at all levels understand FMLA and how it applies to them. Specifically, it requires private sector employers with more than 50 workers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during any 12-month period to eligible employees for certain family and medical reasons (for birth of a son or daughter and to care for the newborn child; for placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care; to care for the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition; because of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform his or her job functions; and to address qualifying exigencies arising out of the deployment of the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent to covered active duty in the military), and up to 26 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin to the employee.
Read more from the Federal Register about the proposed changes here.