The new DOL guidelines addressing Mental Health Leave under FMLA

Vikrant Shetty

March 10, 2023

2:28 pm

Mental health leave is a growing concern for employers. The new DOL guidelines addressing Mental Health Leave under FMLA are a welcome addition to the conversation. The guidelines provide clarity on what qualifies as a serious health condition and how employers can best support employees who need to take leave for mental health reasons.

The guidelines also provide employers with suggestions for supporting employees during and after taking the leave. These include maintaining communication, providing resources and support, and making accommodations as needed.

This article will discuss the new DOL (Department of Labor) guidelines addressing Mental Health Leave under FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act).

Why is Mental Health leave important?

Mental Health leave is important because it allows employees to take the time needed to address their mental health without the fear of losing their job or being held back at work. The new DOL guidelines addressing Mental Health Leave under FMLA will help to ensure that employees who need to take time off for their mental health can do so without fear of reprisal from their employer. This is a major step forward in recognizing the importance of mental health and its impact on overall productivity in the workplace.

What are the new DOL guidelines?

The Department of Labor has recently released new guidelines addressing mental health leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The new guidelines make it clear that employees are entitled to take leave for mental health conditions including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder; just as they would for physical health conditions. This is a major change from the previous guidelines, which did not explicitly include mental health conditions.  Employees are also entitled to take leave to care for a family member with a mental health condition.

 The new guidelines are a welcome change for many workers who have struggled to get the time off they need to address their mental health. It covers that employees struggling with mental health can take upto 12 weeks of leave per year.

The DOL has also released resources to help employers understand and comply with the new guidelines. 

The new guidelines state that employees must provide their employers with enough information to show that they have a serious health condition that meets the criteria for FMLA leave. The employer may then require the employee to provide medical certification from a licensed health care provider.

The DOL’s new guideline is significant because it recognizes that mental health conditions can be serious and debilitating, and that employees should not have to choose between their job and their health. This is an important step forward in promoting workplace wellness and supporting employees who need time off to address their mental health.

What are the benefits of the new DOL guidelines?

The new guidelines are a welcome relief for many workers who have been struggling to cope with mental health issues while also meeting the demands of their job. The ability to take leave for mental health reasons will allow workers to get the treatment they need without fear of losing their job or income.

What are the drawbacks of the new DOL guidelines?

Firstly, the DOL’s new guidelines only apply to employers with 50 or more employees. This means that many small businesses will not be covered by the new guidelines.

Secondly, the DOL’s new guidelines do not require employers to provide paid leave for employees taking mental health leave. This could be a problem for employees who need to take time off but cannot afford to lose pay.

Finally, the DOL’s new guidelines do not address how employers should handle employees who need to take intermittent leave for mental health reasons. This could lead to confusion and frustration on the part of both employers and employees. 

Summary:

Mental health is often viewed as a taboo topic, but it’s something that should be openly discussed. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year. That statistic is even higher for adults aged 18-25.

Since the launch of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in 1993, employers have granted 12 weeks of unpaid leave to employees for their own serious health condition, or to care for a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition. In response to growing concerns about mental health in the workplace, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released new guidance in May 2022 clarifying how FMLA can be used to address mental health conditions.

Vikrant Shetty

March 10, 2023

2:28 pm

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