The DOL Continues Warning Employers of Systemic FMLA Issues
The DOL or Department of Labor is a part of the United States federal government that is in charge of unemployment insurance and its benefits, wages, employee hours, re-employment services and safety at the workplace, among other things.
FMLA is short for the “Family and Medical Leave Act” which is a federal law guaranteeing some employees 12 unpaid leave of absence per year, without losing their job. Employees who are covered by this act can keep their healthcare benefits as if they were still at their jobs even when they leave temporarily.
The DOL is interested in the systemic notices regarding the abuse of FMLA issues and will try to identify problems regarding compliance with the law. These systemic concerns impact many employees, and sometimes at multiple locations. The job of the DOL is to find out how many complainants there are and at specifically what company work sites.
The aim of the DOL will be regarding three systemic types of information:
1) Anecdotal: Those based on interviewing with employees, as well as the supervisors, managers and administrators.
2) Statistical: The trends and requests from the employee, and the approvals and responses that a group, individual or supervisor requests.
3) Documents: The leave request and notice records, medical certifications, and what issue of the FMLA handbook and policies is being used.
Employers will continue to be scrutinized by the Department of Labor on their procedures regarding FMLA laws. If they do not adhere and stick to the FMLA regulations, they will be fined. The DOL will continue to warn employers regarding the investigation of the ongoing systemic FMLA issue.
Self-auditing of a company will help the business as they prepare their budget for 2016.
Focus should be on the following:
– Review of the FMLA Policy
The DOL will review the FMLA policy of the company and make sure that the regulations from March 2013 are being incorporated into their documents. Also important is confirming that the policies regarding the FMLA concerns are incorporated in the employee hand-book.
Such things as eligibility, reasons for leave, defining the 12 month leave per FMLA requirements, medical certificates, and work prohibition during the leave and the rights and benefits while absent.
– FMLA Poster
The poster made specifically by the FMLA must be posted in all languages used at the company and put in the location where it can be seen by all employees.
– Forms provided by the FMLA must comply legally
If there is a violation of the FMLA it will cost the employer a certain fee. All FMLA forms such as certification forms and notice of eligibility forms must be up to date.
– FMLA Correspondence
The letters and certification documents that exist should all be filled out and available when the employee returns. The DOL reviews these types of documents during investigation.
– Audit of FMLA Procedures
What are the rules used by supervisors and managers when the employee reports his or her absence to the position? Are the questions being asked done in a proper way?
– How are the FMLA regulations being complied
Are the employers giving out curing certifications, if not you will need to contact the office for more information. Are the company managers properly sending the notices from the FMLA leaf to the general public?
– Record Keeping Cleaning
All data and records for the DOL should be accurate and kept in a storage area where it can later be found. The documents should all be maintained in a safe place for at least three years.
– Employee Training
All employees must be trained to file for their boss if it becomes necessary. Sometimes some employers have to pay a large sum because their manager responded foolishly.
This content was assembled to inform small businesses – like yours – of potential compliance issues.
To have employees in the United States means you’ll need quality labor law protection. If you’re based in Beverly Hills, try one of these labor posters for total compliance. Their in-house legal is constantly reviewing their employment posters to ensure 100% compliance.
Avoiding Errors That Are Commonly Made
During DOL investigations some compliance issues come may come up such as:
a) The inability of an employer to recognize that there is a need for an FMLA leave by disciplining the employee regarding his or her absence.
b) Not meeting the deadlines that have been implemented by the FMLA.
c) Incorrect administration of medical certification by the employer.
In conclusion, employers must be concerned about the regulations related to FMLA procedures and whether or not they are following them accordingly. The DOL investigator, on the other hand, will continue to warn employers regarding Systemic FMLA issues and exam and audit the records of a company to find out if proper FMLA laws are being carried out by the employer.
As soon as the DOL investigator has completed his or her fact-finding task, they will meet the employer and if an implementation error has occurred, the examiner will point out the violation to the owner or manager of the business and ask them to correct the infringement violation. The investigator will also tell the employer how to fix a violation, and assist the employee, who was wrongfully terminated, to find another job.
Credit for this small business article goes to Neches FCU, Port Neches, TX.
Neches FCU is a texas credit union and has an awesome team of professionals ready to service its members. When their doors open at any of the several service outlets, the mission of “Ultimate Member Satisfaction” becomes the driving force for every employee. They are respected for a personal, dynamic and fast-paced work environment, providing a memorable service experience, and where clients are known by their name.
Neches FCU has approx. $438 Million in assets with over 45,000 members. Neches Federal Credit Union is considered by members and the business community as one of the best credit unions in texas and an actively involved partner, helping our Family, Friends and Community!