*This week’s blog post is brought to you by Optis’ Business Development Analyst, [David Spring](https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidspringoptis).* ![DSpring.jpg](/sites/default/files/DSpring.jpg) If you manage FMLA leave, you’ve most likely heard the recent news that the Department of Labor's (DOL) Final Rule on the definition of spouse has been temporarily stayed in four states. The [final rule](http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/spouse/) was issued February 25, 2015 by the DOL and aimed to increase the consistency across the United States in how the FMLA is provided to same-sex spouses.
Recent Updates in FMLA Legislation
Employers Beware: Don’t Discourage FMLA Usage
It’s always good to be reminded about behaviors or policies that could lead to legal trouble. One such reminder comes from section 105 of the FMLA, which indicates that interfering, restraining or improperly denying the benefits of the FMLA also includes not discouraging in any way usage of the FMLA. If this message was clear and obvious to all employers, then it would seem violations of this nature wouldn’t still occur, but unfortunately, they do.
Managing Employee Absence This Halloween? Prevent a Nightmare on DOL Street
Intermittent FMLA leave tracking, eligibility requirements and varying leave policies by state is enough to haunt HR in their dreams. However, managing employee absence doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds. Here are a few general tips to follow to keep you on track and help you sleep this Halloween - • An employer has the right to request a medical certification for an employee absence, but don’t ask for one more often than every 30 days (in most cases.) Give the employee space. Don’t wear that metaphorical bladed glove. • Determine the best “FMLA Year” and publicize it.