On February 4, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) marked the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) into law by issuing a final rule which implements two expansions of FMLA leave.
The new rule permits eligible workers to take up to 26 workweeks of leave to care for a current service member with a serious injury or illness. Congress also created a qualifying exigency leave, which permits eligible employees to take up to 12 workweeks of leave for qualifying exigencies arising out of active duty or call to active duty in support of a contingency operation of a family member serving in the National Guard or Reserve. The expansion will allow employees to spend more time with family members in the military, including when they are on leave from active duty service.
The rule also implements amendments clarifying the application of the FMLA to airline personnel and flight crews. Previously, the unique manner in which flight personnel and crews logged work hours prevented their eligibility for the FMLA. Now, they are qualified for enrollment.
From a practical standpoint, these regulations do not create any significant changes to the administration of FMLA benefits. However, the DOL has made revisions to its mandatory poster—Employee Rights and Responsibilities under the FMLA—to reflect these new regulations. Thus, if you are an employer covered by the FMLA you must act to stay compliant with poster requirements. Generally, the FMLA applies to all public agencies, including local, State, and Federal employers, and schools; and private sector employers with 50 or more employees.
If you are an FMLA employer you can use the updated poster immediately, but must have it displayed no later than March 8, 2013. You can access the new poster on the DOL’s website, www.dol.gov; they are provided at no cost to employers. If you have any questions about what poster requirements apply to you as an employer, visit http://www.dol.gov/elaws/posters.htm for guidance or contact legal counsel.© 2013 by McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC. All rights reserved.