The United States Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued Final Regulations to the FMLA that will be effective March 8, 2013. These new regulations clarify or change previous regulations that covered military caregiver leave, qualifying exigency leave, tracking FMLA leave hours, and the special leave calculation method for flight crew employees. Depending upon how detailed your FMLA policy is, this may mean that you need to revise your policy. Regardless of whether your policy needs to be updated, it’s likely that you will need a new FMLA poster for the bulletin board where your labor and employment posters are displayed.
The new regulations set out new definitions for military servicemembers and active duty with regard to qualified exigency leave; create a new category for “parental leave” under qualified exigency leave; expand the length of time for rest and recuperation qualified exigency leave from five to fifteen days; set out new definitions for covered servicemembers with regard to military caregiver leave; revise the definition of serious injury for military caregiver leave; expand the documentation that may be used to verify an employee’s need for military caregiver leave; expand the list of health care providers who may attest to the servicemember’s need for military caregiver leave; clarify that USERRA leave is counted as hours worked for purposes of determining an employee’s eligibility for FMLA leave upon his/her return from military leave; clarify that an employer may not require an employee to take more FMLA leave than he/she needs and that the leave may only be calculated in the smallest amount of time that the employer uses to track similar leaves of absence; address the “physical impossibility” provision that applies when an employer cannot allow an employee to return to work mid-shift. The Final Regulations also update recordkeeping requirements to comply with the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act and address hours of service for airline flight crews.
You can print an up-to-date FMLA poster from the Department of Labor website at http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/posters/fmla.htm
If you have any questions about these Final Regulations or would like assistance updating your FMLA policy, please contact any one of the attorneys at Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C.