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Human Resources Alert: DOL Issues Final FMLA Regulations

By March 3, 2013 February 19th, 2015 No Comments

Senior-Couple-hospitalHuman resources departments and employers should be aware of changes to the FMLA act. On February 6, 2013, the 20th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act’s (FMLA), the Department of Labor (DOL) issued updated regulations, optional notice and certification forms, and a new FMLA poster.

Employers should update their policies and post the new FMLA poster by March 8th, 2012.

The new regulations, which are effective March 8, 2013, incorporate or expand the military leave amendments of 2008. Key changes/updates include:

  • Families of eligible veterans now have the same job-protected FMLA leave currently available to families of active military service members.
  • More military families can now take leave for activities that arise when a service member is deployed.
  • Parental leave has been added as a new leave category to the qualifying exigency leave. The period of leave to be granted for a service member’s rest and recuperation has been extended from five to 15 days.
  • The definition of “serious injury or illness” now covers pre-existing conditions aggravated by military service.
  • Private health care providers not affiliated with the military healthcare system are now authorized to issue FMLA certifications for military-related leave.

Changes to FMLA Eligibility Rules for Airline Flight Crew Employees

Under the new rules, airline flight crew employees are eligible for FMLA leave if they have worked (or been paid) for at least 60% of the applicable total monthly guarantee and have worked (or been paid) for at least 504 hours during the prior 12 months. Airline employees who are not flight crew employees must meet the standard eligibility standard of 1,250 hours of service in the prior 12 months.

New Forms

In connection with the final regulations, the DOL indicated that it has updated some of its model FMLA forms, including the model FMLA poster. The model FMLA forms are available on the DOL’s FMLA website.

Next Steps for Employers

Employers with 50 or more employees must comply with the FMLA.
•    Update their FMLA policies.
•    Replace their FMLA posters.
•    Replace old notice or certification forms in their files with new ones
•    Make sure all HR and leave administrators are familiar with the new changes.

Material discussed in this article is meant to provide general information and should not be acted on without obtaining professional advice tailored to your firm’s individual needs. The information is for general guidance only and is not a substitute for professional or legal advice.

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