In conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the U.S. Department of Labor issued new regulations and published new versions of FMLA forms and a new workplace poster. The effective date for the new regulations and forms as well as the posting date for the new poster was March 8, 2013.
The new regulations modify FMLA provisions relating to care for military service members and airline personnel. The new regulations also provide clarification as to rules affecting all covered employees. Some highlights of the new regulations include the following:
- Modified qualified exigency leave, which affected the following:
|o||The definition of “active duty” has been changed to “covered active duty,” which means that only those whose related service members are being deployed to a foreign country are covered for a qualifying exigency leave.|
|o||A new qualifying exigency leave category for parental care leave has been added, which provides that eligible employees may take leave to care for a military member’s parent who is incapable of self-care when the care is necessitated by the member’s covered active duty.|
|o||The amount of time an eligible employee may take for Rest and Recuperation qualifying exigency leave has been expanded from 5 days to a maximum of 15 calendar days.|
- An expanded definition of military caregiver leave, which provides as much as 26 weeks of leave in 12 months for eligible employees who are caring for covered veterans as well as covered services members. This definition is expanded to include covered veterans who are undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a serious injury or illness.
- Clarification of the application of the FMLA to airline personnel and flight crews.
- Confirmation that an employer’s FMLA record keeping must comply with the confidentiality obligations under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA).
- Clarification of rules for the calculation of intermittent or reduced schedule FMLA leave, which added that an employer may not require an employee to take more leave than necessary and that time worked for the employer while on FMLA leave may not be counted against the employee’s FMLA entitlement (thus, if the employee is working at home full or part-time while on FMLA leave, the time worked must not be counted).
A complete comparison chart of the new regulations is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/2013rule/comparison.htm.
The new versions of FMLA forms also relate to military family leave and have been revised to reflect the recent changes in those provisions. Additionally, a new certification form has been prepared for use in conjunction with the serious injury or illness of a veteran. There are no significant changes to the other forms.
The revised workplace poster and forms are available at the following sites: