The FMLA has undergone major change in the past 18 months. First, there was the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an amendment to the FMLA, which took effect in January 2008. Then, in February, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), released its proposed regulations for public comment. The comments were collected and the FMLA’s final regulations were published in November. Then, on January 16, 2009, the final regulations took effect. And, since then, employers have been operating under this new–and substantially different–set of regulations. Whether or not they realize that there’s a new set of rules in town is a different question.
For those of you who are aware that the FMLA’s final regulations are now in place, you also probably know that the regs impose a set of new responsibilities on employers. I’ve spoken to Human Resource professionals about the final regulations several times since they were first promulgated, including at our annual employment law seminar last week, where William W. Bowser and I presented an FMLA update twice in the same day to accommodate the large number of attendees. A single blog post is not the best way to share the many ins and outs of the new law. But I can address one topic that I consider to be critical for employers to understand: FMLA Notices.
The final FMLA regs contain substantial changes in the conditions in which an employer can and must give certain FMLA-related notices to employees. Each of these notices have a great number of complexities that employers are best advised to come to terms with now. The new regulations are unforgiving when it comes to employer delays.