In light of recent military-related amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), should I update the FMLA notice currently posted in my employees’ break room?

Yes. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which generally applies to employers with 50 or more employees, was enacted to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families by allowing covered employees to take reasonable leave for medical, health, or family reasons. On January 28, 2008, President Bush signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes a provision that allows eligible employees to take up to 26 workweeks of leave during a 12-month period to provide needed care for a family member who suffers a serious illness or injury while on active duty in the Armed Forces. The NDAA also provides that eligible employees are entitled to a total of 12 workweeks of leave “because of any qualifying exigency (as the Secretary shall, by regulation, determine)” arising out of a family member’s active duty in the Armed Forces.

The regulations interpreting the FMLA, as originally enacted, require that every covered employer “post and keep posted on its premises, in conspicuous places where employees are employed…a notice explaining” the FMLA’s provisions and providing information concerning the procedures for filing complaints of violations of the FMLA. Even though the Department of Labor (DOL) has yet to address the NDAA in its regulations, the DOL did create the “FMLA Poster Insert for Military Leave Amendments,” which generally describes the recent military-related amendments to the FMLA. Until the DOL amends the general FMLA Poster to include the NDAA amendments, covered employers would be wise to post both the original poster and the insert in a conspicuous place on their premises.