Contributed by Jonathon Hoag
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued the Spanish version of the revised General FMLA Notice Poster. The FMLA regulations have long-required that all covered employers must post notice of FMLA rights and obligations prominently where such notice can be seen by employees and applicants for employment. The notice must be posted at all locations where the employer has employees. The required notice was revised earlier this year to reflect the February 2013 FMLA revisions related to military leave and leave for airline flight crew employees. The revised poster was just recently made available in Spanish. It should be noted that the DOL has also translated other FMLA forms and guidance into Spanish, which are available on DOL’s website.
The regulations state that when an employer’s workforce “is comprised of a significant portion of workers who are not literate in English, the employer shall provide the general notice in a language in which the employees are literate.” Unfortunately, the DOL has not provided specific guidance to determine what constitutes a “significant portion,” so employers must use reasonable business judgment when determining what languages are applicable.
Employers should be sure that updated versions of the FMLA general notice are posted in accordance with the rules. This includes all electronic postings and postings incorporated in employee handbooks or manuals. As a reminder, failure to provide proper FMLA notice can jeopardize an employer’s FMLA defense and subject the employer to possible civil penalties.