Check out our 2021 FMLA Update. We cover what’s new over the past year and offer tips, tools, and best practices from legal and HR experts.
FMLA is one of the most popular search terms on our site, so we know it’s on the minds of employers and HR managers. Because of this, we periodically gather new resources, articles and tools that readers might find valuable.
Key FMLA Resources
With a new administration at the helm, some of your federal go-to links may have changed. Here’s an update to some key resources.
- U.S. Department of Labor Family and Medical Leave Act – The U.S, Department of Labor’s general index to resources on FMLA, including an overview, key news, laws, general guidance, e-tools, posters, and Fact Sheets in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog and Thai.
- FMLA forms – optional-use electronically fillable PDFs forms for employers to provide required notices to employees, and by employees to provide certification of their need for leave for an FMLA qualifying reason.
- FMLA Fact Sheets
- elaws Family and Medical Leave Act Advisor – The elaws Advisors are interactive e-tools that provide easy-to-understand information about a number of federal employment laws. Each Advisor simulates the interaction you might have with an employment law expert. It asks questions and provides answers based on responses given. Both employees and employers can benefit from elaws.
- NCSL: State Family Medical Leave Leave Laws
- Federal vs. State Family and Medical Leave Laws
What’s new in the past year:
Every year, Family Medical Leave Act guru and employment law attorney Jeff Nowak posts an important resource for HR professionals and employment attorneys on his blog, FMLA Insights. The American Bar Association’s summary of cases from the prior year – “a comprehensive report of FMLA decisions handed down by the federal courts in the previous year.” ABA’s 2021 Summary of 2020 FMLA Cases (PDF).
New FMLA forms
- HR Daily Advisor: DOL Releases New FMLA Model Forms – The updated FMLA forms have a revision date of “June 2020” and list an expiration date of “6/30/2023. According to the DOL, the new forms “are simpler and easier for employees, employers, leave administrators and healthcare providers to understand and use.” The forms contain new features such as more questions that users can answer by checking a response box and electronic signature features. The DOL believes the changes will reduce the time users spend providing information, improve communications between leave applicants and administrators and reduce the likelihood of violations.”
- SHRM: A Guide to the New FMLA Forms – the Department of Labor (DOL) revised Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms this summer, resulting in extensive changes that require more specific information in notices and medical certifications. The use of the forms is optional; employers can still create their own, though many HR professionals rely on the templates from the DOL.
- HR Daily Advisor: 6 Good Reasons to Use New Model FMLA Forms
A number of states added or revised their paid leave laws:
- JD Supra, Foley & Larner, LLP: Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave: Answers and Insights for Employers
- JD Supra, Kittler: Massachusetts Leave of Absence Obligations and the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Littler: What We Know About Connecticut’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (and What We’re Still Learning)
- Connecticut Employment Law Blog: Paid Leave is Alive. And Dead. And Coming Back to Life?
- Connecticut Paid Leave – CT Paid Leave Authority
- Littler:Just in Time for Handbook Season, California Passes Sweeping Expansion of Family Leave Law
FMLA and Covid-19
The recent news of note was the extension of certain provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) via the American Rescue Act.
- FMLA Insights: There’s a Lot to Unpack on the New FFCRA, and Here’s My Initial Take
- JD Supra, Buckingham: American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
- JD Supra, Crowe & Dunleavy: Voluntary FFCRA Leaves Extended and Expanded
- JD Supra: Pierce Atwood: COVID-19: Congress Extends FFCRA Payroll Tax Credit through September, With Some New Wrinkles
- JD Supra: Arent Fox: FFCRA and Unemployment Changes Under the American Rescue Plan
Also on Covid-19:
- JD Supra Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner: US COVID-19: COVID-Related Leave – When Does The FMLA Apply?
- Coronovirus Law Blog: Is an employee entitled to FMLA leave to care for the children of a family member with coronavirus?
- Coronovirus Law Blog: DOL approves telemedicine visits to establish a serious health condition under the FMLA
- FMLA Insight: Can Employers Require that Employees Receive a COVID-19 Vaccine Before Returning to Work?
- FMLA Insights: Is an Asymptomatic COVID-19 Positive Employee Eligible for FMLA Leave?
General FMLA issues
- FMLA Insights: Here are Ten Problems with Your FMLA Policy and Suggestions on How You Fix Them
- JD Supra, Mintz: Getting Back to Basics: Intermittent FMLA Leave
- HR Daily Advisor: FMLA is Required HR Knowledge
- Eric Meyer’s Employer Handbook: Here’s why it’s important for employees returning from FMLA leave to certify that they are fit for duty
- HR Daily Advisor: FMLA and Caring for Elderly Parent with Dementia
- FMLA Insights: Employers, It’s Time to Update Your Call-in Procedures
- FMLA Insights: Should You Check In with Your Employee During FMLA Leave? Yes, and Here’s Why
- Employment & Labor Insider: Employer gets whacked on workers’ comp, FMLA overlap
- JD Supra, Dentons, Davis, Brown – HR Quick Take: FMLA Medical Certification
- FMLA Insights: Can an Employer Lawfully Deny a Bonus to an Employee Who Takes FMLA or FFCRA Leave?
Recent HR Web Cafe Posts that may be of interest: