Attention employers, it’s time to replace your old FMLA poster. New FMLA regulations and a new FMLA poster requirement took effect March 8, 2013.
The Department of Labor recently published final regulations clarifying several changes to the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA” or “the Act”). These new regulations expand military leave entitlements available under the Act and increase the scope of qualifying exigency leave. The new regulations also require employers to post an updated FMLA poster.
Starting March 8, 2013, covered employers must begin using the new poster prepared by the Department of Labor summarizing the major provisions of the FMLA, which is available on the Department of Labor Website at: https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/posters/fmlaen.pdf. The poster must be displayed at all worksites.
Military Exigency Leave and Military Caregiver Leave
New regulations expand eligibility for qualifying exigency leave to family members of regular Armed Service members who are deployed to a foreign country. Pursuant to the regulations, a new qualifying exigency leave category for paternal care leave was also established. Under this provision, eligible employees may now take qualifying exigency leave to care for a military member’s parent who is incapable of self-care. Such care may include arranging for alternative care, providing care on an immediate need basis, admitting or transferring the parent to a care facility, or attending meetings with staff at a care facility. The new regulations also increase the amount of time an eligible employee may take for qualifying exigency leave for Rest and Recuperation from 5 to 15 days.
In addition, the definition of a covered service member has been expanded to include covered veterans who are undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy due to a serious injury or illness, rather than just current service members. A covered veteran is an individual who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable at any time during the five-year period prior to when the eligible employee seeks or takes FMLA leave to care for the covered veteran. The definition of a serious injury or illness has been expanded to include an injury or illness that existed before the beginning of the service member’s active duty that was aggravated by service in the line of duty in the armed forces. In the case of veterans, a serious injury includes an injury that manifested itself before or after the service member became a veteran.
If they have not already, employers should begin using the updated FMLA poster immediately. In addition, employers should evaluate their leave policies and employee handbooks to make sure they are consistent with the new regulations.
Please note that the information contained in this newsletter is not intended to provide specific legal advice. You should consult with an attorney and not rely on any information contained herein regarding your specific situation.