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Last Wednesday, February 5, marked the 20-Year Anniversary of the day that President Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") into law, reports Working Mother. With more than 100 million people helped during this time, we thought we would give you some tips to make sure that your company is meeting the standards set forth in the FMLA.
If an employee requests time off pursuant to the FMLA, be sure to properly research whether the request properly falls within the FMLA before approving, or denying, such requests. In one district court case, the company (and attorneys') failure to properly "research the requirements of the FMLA" led to the award of back pay to the employee.
Take this time to review, and update your policies. First, your company should have a policy in place that describes the procedure for requesting time off. Next, when approving or denying a request, be sure that the notice is in writing, and provide an explanation. Finally, make sure that all managers and employees are aware of the policies and procedures.
As corporate counsel, you should also keep abreast of changes to policy. For example, last Friday, U.S. Attorney General announced that he would issue a memorandum that for purposes of federal law, the U.S. will recognize same-sex marriages, and accord them the same rights as heterosexual couples. How does this affect your company and the FMLA? Well, it may not, unless your state recognizes same-sex marriages, according to the Society for Resource Management. But, these are precisely the kinds of issues that you need to keep up on to see if your FMLA policy is valid.
There's no time like the current anniversary to review your company's FMLA policies to verify that they are within the bounds of the law. As the baby boomers age, you can expect more and more FMLA requests as employees will begin to care for their parents. Be proactive to make sure that your company, and its policies, are ready.
For more information on the FMLA, visit the United States Department of Labor website.
How does your company's FMLA policy measure up? Let us know on Facebook at FindLaw for Legal Professionals.
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