Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Did you know that FMLA policies are mandatory?

Did you know that if you are covered by the FMLA and have an employee handbook, the FMLA's regulations require that handbook to contain an FLMA policy?

If an FMLA-covered employer has any eligible employees and has any written guidance to employees concerning employee benefits or leave rights, such as in an employee handbook, information concerning FMLA entitlements and employee obligations under the FMLA must be included in the handbook or other document. For example, if an employer provides an employee handbook to all employees that describes the employer's policies regarding leave, wages, attendance, and similar matters, the handbook must incorporate information on FMLA rights and responsibilities and the employer's policies regarding the FMLA.

An annual review of an employee handbook or other policy manual is always a good idea. Laws are constantly in flux. New laws are passed (for example, Ohio's workplace smoking ban in 2006) that may require new guidance for employees. Courts issue decisions that may make old policies either obsolete or downright illegal. The only way to make sure that a handbook is up to date is to actually take a close look at it as often as every year.

The bottom line - if you have 50 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year, and your handbook at all deals with employee benefits or leave rights (as most do), take a look at the handbook and make sure it has an FMLA policy.