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HR Soapbox

Why You Can (and Should) Ignore the New FMLA Poster

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Patrick DiDomenico

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in HR Soapbox

Your breakroom bulletin board is probably covered, in part, with lots of government-mandated posters that give your workers creative ways to sue your organization. If your workplace has more than 50 employees, one of those posters must explain employees' rights to take job-protected leave covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Most employers use a model poster from the U.S. Department of Labor to satisfy this posting requirement. This week, the DOL published a new version of that poster.   

The big qEmployee rightsuestion: If you already have an FMLA poster on your wall, must you display this new version in its place? The answer is no, you don't have to post this new version as long as you are currently displaying a legal FMLA poster. (The DOL poster was most recently updated in 2013).

The new 2016 model contains basically the same information as the 2013 poster, but the new version is organized in a more reader-friendly format. This version also adds more color to the poster. Plus, it highlights the DOL’s contact information to file a complaint.

Our take: Don't rush to tack this new version onto your "Here's How to Sue Us" wall. The DOL has stated that, “The February 2013 version of the FMLA poster is still good and can be used to fulfill the posting requirement.”

Those new DOL "improvements" to the poster are only intended to draw more employee eyeballs. And the added contact information on the poster simply make it even easier for employees to file FMLA complaints against your company. That's not something you need.

On the other hand, there is something else you may want to download from the DOL's website. At the same time it issued the new poster, the DOL published an updated version of its Employer’s Guide to The FMLA. It's a 75-page downloadable book that helps new and experienced HR professionals navigate the complex law. It includes lots of flow charts and case studies that help illustrate the problems you may encounter when handling FMLA requests.

Print a copy of this new Employer's Guide for your files, but leave your old FMLA poster on the wall.

 

 

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