10 Things to Remember About the FMLA

10 Things to Remember About the FMLA

While there are different rules in each state, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies to every business that operates in the United States. Even if you don’t think this law applies to you, it’s important to learn about FMLA notification requirements and eligibility rules.

As Brian Shenker, principal at Jackson Lewis, recently said in Mission to Grow’s FMLA podcast, “If you don’t think FMLA applies to you, but it does, you’re going to be committing violation after violation.” Eventually, these mistakes can catch up to you and lead to significant civil penalties and lawsuits.

Fortunately, the basic concepts behind FMLA requirements are fairly straightforward to understand. If you do have any questions about the FMLA requirements California residents and other states must deal with, you can talk to an HR specialist about the FMLA rules for your business.

The Top 10 Important Things to Remember About FMLA Requirements

Are temporary employees eligible for FMLA? How do geographic requirements apply to remote workers? Before you can adopt FMLA rules in your workplace, you first need to understand the requirements. The following list includes some of the most important things to remember about FMLA rules.

1. Display an FMLA Poster

One of the first FMLA requirements California, Texas, and other states face is the FMLA poster. No matter where you live, you are required to display an FMLA poster about the provisions that cover your employees. This poster is created by the United States Department of Labor, and it must be shown at all of your company’s locations.

2. Remember the 50-Employee Rule 

One of the most important parts of the FMLA to remember is the 50-employee rule. If you have more than 50 employees working within a 75-mile radius, you must follow the FMLA. To count as having more than 50 employees, you only have to have 50 employees for 20 weeks a year or more. Unlike federal healthcare laws, this figure includes part-time and full-time workers.

3. Consider Your Geographic Radius

Your geographic radius is also important for determining if your employees are eligible for FMLA. It’s too difficult for employees to travel more than 75 miles to cover shifts, so the FMLA was designed to only count workers who are within a 75-mile radius. If you have 50 workers distributed over 10 different states, the FMLA is not going to apply to them.

4. Think About Remote Workers 

Determining the radius can become tricky if you employ multiple remote workers. If your workers telecommute, you have to look at which office they report to. A remote worker qualifies for FMLA protections if there are more than 50 employees within 75 miles of the office they report to.

5. Don’t Forget Your Employees’ FMLA Notification Requirements

While employers have FMLA notification requirements, their employees also have notification requirements. If the employee’s FMLA needs are foreseeable, they must give you notice at least 30 days in advance. Then, employees must be granted at least 15 calendar days to get their FMLA request medically certified. If they don’t get a medical provider to certify their FMLA, you are legally allowed to deny their request.

6. Remember the Employer’s FMLA Notification Requirements

Whether you are looking up the FMLA requirements California residents face or need answers about a specific requirement, there are a few FMLA notification requirements you should be aware of. As an employer, you must provide your employees with the following four notices.

  • General Notice: The general notice must be posted in a conspicuous location so that your employees can easily see it. As long as workers and applicants can easily access it, you can also post this notice electronically. Additionally, you must give your employees this notice when they are initially hired.
  • Eligibility Notice: You must give an employee an eligibility notice when they decide to take FMLA leave. This notice will tell them if they are eligible or not. You have to provide this notice within five days of the employee’s FMLA request. If they aren’t eligible, you must give them the reason why their request was turned down. You should give the employee their rights and responsibilities notice at the same time.
  • Designation Notice: A designation notice is one of the four main FMLA notification requirements. This notice happens when you notify the employee about whether their time off will be designated as FMLA leave or not. It should also say how much of the leave will be counted against their 12 weeks of available FMLA leave.
  • >Rights and Responsibilities Notice: This notice should give the employee information about taking FMLA, such as whether the employee must get a medical certification to return to work or to certify the reason for taking the leave. It may also discuss health care premiums and other topics.

7. Ask About Local Leave Requirements 

The FMLA requirements California businesses face aren’t the same as other states. For example, Washington residents take part in a paid leave program that gives them 12 weeks of paid leave for most medical issues and the birth of a baby. Meanwhile, the FMLA requirements California businesses deal with are the same, but they must also comply with the state’s paid leave program. With the state program, employees get up to eight weeks of leave paid at 60 to 70% of their normal rate.

8. Make an Effort to Create a Compliant FMLA Program 

Being compliant with this law doesn’t have to be challenging. If you turn your FMLA procedures into a checklist and incorporate FMLA notifications into your onboarding materials, you can fulfill your obligations automatically. Other than following the law, being compliant can also help if you ever end up in an FMLA lawsuit. The courts are more likely to view your company favorably if you’ve been operating in good faith and have made an effort to observe all applicable FMLA regulations.

9. Temporary Worker Rules

Are temporary employees eligible for FMLA? Normally, temporary employees aren’t eligible to receive FMLA from your company unless they have worked for your business for more than 20 weeks. However, they may be eligible to get paid leave if you employ them as a temporary worker through an employment agency.

In this case, you and the employment agency are considered joint employers. The worker may be eligible for FMLA protections through your business, the employment agency, or both companies.

Temporary workers are important in another way as well. Even if they don’t remain at your company, they can change the number of employees who work for you. If you have more than 50 employees for 20 weeks of the year, your workplace must provide FMLA protections.

10. Get Professional Help

If you aren’t sure about the answer to, “Are temporary employees eligible for FMLA?” or when your FMLA obligations kick in, you don’t have to figure out the answer on your own. A HR Compliance Expert can help you learn how to fulfill your legal obligations.

Find Out How to Satisfy Your Company’s FMLA Requirements

Whether you need to learn the FMLA requirements California businesses face or your local rules, HR professionals can help you learn about your legal obligations as a small business owner. The federal government requires businesses to follow specific FMLA notification requirements and eligibility rules. If these rules are violated, it can lead to legal and financial penalties.

This information is provided with the understanding that Payroll Partners is not rendering legal, human resources, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from a lawyer, HR consultant or other professional.