Over the years in the employment law “blawgosphere” (isn’t there a better term by now?), I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with and conferring with several other attorneys who blog. One of those is Jeff Nowak, whose FMLA Insights blog has become a go-to place on all things FMLA.
So, it was no surprise yesterday that Jeff was one of the first to talk about a new FMLA notice that will be issued by the U.S. Department of Labor that can be used interchangeably with the existing notice. He also added this scoop:
After today’s announcement, I had the opportunity to connect with the DOL’s Branch Chief for FMLA, Helen Applewhaite, about the timing and obligations to post the new General FMLA Notice. She confirmed that employers would be allowed to post either the current poster or the new version. In other words, employers will not be required to change the current poster. For those that want to use the new poster, I will post a link as soon as DOL releases it.
Jeff also linked to a new employer’s guide to the FMLA, a companion of sorts to a 2012 release by the DOL for employees. This 71-page guide will be a good starting point for employers on the basics of the law but it leaves more complex issues about the law unanswered. For more on it, see Jeff’s post and a followup post by Jon Hyman, of the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog this morning as well.
Connecticut employers though should exercise extreme caution about using this guide as a bible. As most employers in Connecticut are aware, there are significant differences between Connecticut’s FMLA law and the federal counterpart. And because employers with 75 or more employees in Connecticut are covered by both, there is a significant risk that employers using only the federal FMLA guide will get the law wrong.
Connecticut has historically posted a comparison of the two laws that is helpful, again as a starting point. But that comparison is now 17 years old and doesn’t address many of the current issues or things such as a military exigency leave that have occurred through changes to the FMLA law over the years.
So what’s an employer in Connecticut to do? Ignore it? Read it?
Probably a little of both.
There are certainly items helpful in both guides but, in my view, they aren’t a substitute for talking with counsel about more complicated issues such as intermittent leave and FMLA’s interaction with the ADA and Connecticut’s Paid Sick Leave law.
If nothing else, be aware that when FMLA leaves do occur, there may be more to the solution than what is posted in the USDOL’s employer guide.