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Capitol Correspondence - 07.21.20

DOL Issues Guidance, Seeks Public Feedback on FMLA and FLSA

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The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) made changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that have contributed to some confusion among employers and employees. As such, we are sharing two notices from the Department of Labor (DOL) to inform our members in their function as employers:

New guidance on the requirements of FLSA, FMLA and FFCRA : “The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced additional guidance to provide information to workers and employers about how the requirements and protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) impact the workplace as America continues to reopen. The new guidance provides plain-language questions and answers addressing critical issues under all three laws.

This guidance adds to a growing list of compliance assistance materials published by WHD, including a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers, and a Questions and Answers resource about paid sick and expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA. Available guidance also includes two posters, one for federal workers and one for all other employees, that fulfill notice requirements for employers obligated to inform employees about their rights under the FFCRA. The guidance also includes Questions and Answers about posting requirements and simple Quick Benefits Tips to determine how much paid leave workers may take under the FFCRA.”

DOL Seeking Feedback on FMLA Application Process: “The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) today announced significant steps to improve workers’ and employers’ experiences with the use of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). WHD announced that it will publish a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register seeking the public’s feedback on the administration and use of the law, and unveiled revised, streamlined optional forms that employers and workers can use when applying for and coordinating FMLA leave.

The Department continually reviews its policies in order to ensure its regulations remain current with changes in the workplace. The RFI solicits feedback on any specific challenges or best practices in the use or administration of FMLA leave. Information from the public about what is and is not working well in the administration of the FMLA will help the Department identify topics about which additional compliance assistance would be helpful, including opportunities for outreach to ensure employers are aware of their obligations under the law and employees understand their rights and responsibilities in using FMLA leave.

The new optional forms are simpler and easier to understand for employers, leave administrators, healthcare providers, and employees seeking leave. WHD made revisions after substantial input from the public. Significant updates include fewer questions that require written responses, replaced by statements that can be completed by checking a box, and – in support of minimized contact – electronic signature features. The changes reduce the amount of time it takes a healthcare provider to provide information, and help leave administrators review and communicate information to employees more directly and with greater clarity, reducing the likelihood of violations.

For more information about the FMLA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the Division’s toll-free helpline at 1-866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at www.dol.gov/agencies/whd.”