The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has been part of the U.S. workforce landscape for nearly a quarter of a century. And although your organization has likely had a compliance strategy in place for years, browsing an FMLA guide as we head into 2017 could point you toward new technology that can replace outdated leave tracking systems, as well as highlight new compliance issues that may arise in conjunction with new and evolving regulations like state and local paid sick leave laws.

The FMLA guarantees eligible workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under a variety of circumstances, according to the DOL. Workers can use FMLA due to their own serious medical condition, to care for an immediate family member with a serious medical condition or to address qualifying issues when certain family members are on covered active duty or called to such duty. In certain circumstances, leave may be used during pregnancy, such as leave for a serious health condition related to pregnancy. Leave may also be taken for birth or placement of a child for adoption or foster care. Although the FMLA allows for unpaid leave, employees must be permitted to return to work and their benefits must continue without interruption.

We've put together a guide of three articles that should help you get a better understanding of the FMLA.

1. "5 Tips for Managing the Impact of Employee Absences"

This article provides strategies HR managers can implement to communicate leave policies accurately, improve leave tracking and ensure that leave management is integrated with the operational needs of the organization and the systems in place, including ACA compliance, payroll and scheduling. Although your organization may have been tracking FMLA leave for years, changes to your system may be necessary since for now, at least, the ACA is still the law of the land. Continually improving your systems for managing employee leave and absences can help ensure you remain compliant with evolving requirements.

2. "Orchestrating Compliant Communication Policies for Employees on Leave"

Accurate FMLA communication with your employees is key. But you also want to make sure your communication is compliant with all applicable regulations. Everything about your communication strategy should be clearly defined and conducted in accordance with requirements. This includes when and how you notify employees of FMLA eligibility and the frequency of communication while employees are on leave, including communications initiated by the employee.

3. "Does Absence Management Have to Be Expensive and Time-Consuming?"

More than half of HR leaders find it difficult to interpret state and federal laws regarding employee absences. If this issue is a drain on your HR resources, outsourcing might be the best solution. There are a variety of factors to keep in mind when seeking an outsourced solution for absence and leave management, including ease of use as well as an ability to remain up-to-date with evolving regulations.

Each of those articles addresses different aspects of FMLA compliance and strategy. Together, they serve as an FMLA guide to help point you in the right direction. As with other aspects of regulatory compliance, FMLA requirements are likely to continue to change, so this is an issue organizations should continue to watch.

Want to learn more about 2017's HR trends? See below for the other articles in our #HR2017 series:

#HR2017: What We Learned About Benefit Policies in 2016

#HR2017: Don't Be Fooled By the Cost of the ACA This Year

#HR2017: What Last Year Taught Us About the ACA

#HR2017: Top Innovation Trends Coming This Year

#HR2017: Help Your Employees Achieve Their Health and Wellness Resolutions

#HR2017: What's on the Horizon for Workplace Flexibility in the Coming Year?

#HR2017: Job Growth Patterns from 2016 Inform 2017's Outlook

#HR2017: Talent Acquisition Trends for 2017 — Tips to Attract Rock Stars

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