The most recent rules combine several of the old notices into one section of the regulations and remove some inconsistencies that existed in regard to time periods. Employers are required to provide employees with the General Notice about FMLA (this could be via a poster and a handbook, an eligibility notification, a rights and responsibilities notice, or a designation notice). Employers are given additional time to provide the notices, which is now five days.
- General Notice: The employer should generate the General Notice to all employees. This can be done via a handbook or other written means. Consider how new hires and employees on leave of absence will be notified. Employers may also opt to post this information online via the intranet or Internet. The regulations specify the distribution of this notice to new hires via handbooks if such manuals exist.
- Eligibility Notice: When an employee requests FML, or when an employee is out of work due to an illness or injury that may qualify under the FMLA, the employer must notify the employee of the employee’s eligibility to take FML within five business days, absent extenuating circumstances. If the employer determines the employee is ineligible, the notice must state at least one reason why he is ineligible for FML. If FML is approved, all FML absences for the same qualifying reason are considered a single leave and will not change during the designated FML 12-month period.
- Rights and Responsibilities Notice: Employers must provide a written rights and responsibilities notice each time an eligibility notice is required and any time the information changes thereafter, which includes the expectations, obligations and consequences (i.e., failure to pay premiums will result in termination of coverage). This notice can be mailed in tandem with other notices such as the medical certification form.