Labor Department Issues New FMLA Regulations; New Forms & Poster Required
On Feb. 6, the U.S.
Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) celebrated the 20th
anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by issuing new regulations along with an updated
poster and forms.
The regulations cover leave related to members or veterans of the military as
well as the disclosure of genetic information obtained by employers for FMLA
purposes. FMLA covered employers are required to begin using the new
forms and poster no later than March 8, 2013. The poster must be
displayed in a conspicuous location where employees and applicants can see it,
including locations where there are no employees eligible for FMLA.
The regulations expand
Qualified Exigency Leave. Qualified Exigency Leave may be used when an
eligible employee’s spouse, child or parent is deployed to a foreign country as
part of his or her service in the armed forces or National Guard and Reserves.
The regulations expand Qualified Exigency Leave by increasing the amount of
leave permitted to spend time with a military member when he or she is on “rest
and recuperation” leave from five to fifteen days. In addition, the new
regulations allow an employee to take leave to care for a military member whose
parent is not capable of self-care, provided the need for care is caused by the
military member’s deployment.
The regulations also update
Military Caregiver Leave. Military Caregiver Leave may be used when
employees take leave to care for a spouse, child, parent, or next of kin of a
covered servicemember. The regulations expanded Military Caregiver Leave
by expanding the definition of “covered servicemember” to include not only
current members of the armed forces, National Guard and Reserves, but also
veterans. The veteran must have been released from military service
within the previous five years, but cannot have been dishonorably
discharged. When a covered servicemember is undergoing treatment for a serious
medical condition, a spouse, child, parent or next of kin may take FMLA leave
to care for that person.
In addition, the
regulations also confirm employers’ confidentiality obligations under the
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). As a result,
employers are permitted to disclose genetic information or family history
obtained by the employer so long as it is consistent with the FMLA.
As with all other forms of
FMLA leave, there is no requirement that leave under these circumstances be
paid, however, employers must generally protect the employee’s job during the
leave period. Eligibility for each type of leave requires an employee to
have been employed at the same employer for 12 months and have worked at least
1,250 hours for that employer in the immediately preceding 12 months.
Employers are advised to consult both state and local FMLA laws that may have
more lenient requirements or provide greater leave entitlement to workers.
For more information on the
FMLA, visit the Labor & HR Topical Resources section of the AGC
website. The primary category is “Leave” and the secondary category is “Family
and Medical Leave Act.”
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