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Final Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Military Leave Regulations Issued

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued final regulations addressing an amendment to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that requires employers covered by the FMLA to provide certain types of military-related leave. The regulations, which will take effect on March 8, 2013, determine how the provisions  are to be interpreted and implemented. The DOL’s new regulations will require employers to update their FMLA policies, posters and forms and, among other things, change the way they administer family leave for servicemembers caregivers and employees with family members in the military. The text of the Final Rule can be found here: www.dol.gov/WHD/FMLA/2013rule/.

A brief overview of some of the changes in this Final Rule is set forth below. Please take specific note of the new FMLA poster requirement and new forms near the end of this Alert.

Qualifying Exigency Leave

The Final Rule revises regulations dealing with qualifying exigency leave to (a) include eligible employees with family members serving in the regular armed forces in a foreign country; (b) more clearly define what constitutes a qualifying exigency and adds a new qualifying exigency for parental care; and (c) increase the length of time an eligible family member may take for qualifying exigency leave for rest and recuperation from five days up to a maximum of 15 days.

Military Caregiver Leave

With respect to military caregiver leave, the new Rule: (a) specifically defines what conditions constitute a serious injury of illness for a current member of the Armed Forces or a covered veteran, and expands that definition; (b) defines who is a covered veteran; and (c) allows private physicians, outside the military healthcare system, to certify a serious injury or illness, but allows employers to request a second or third opinion if the employer questions the certification of one of these private physicians.

Calculation of Intermittent or Reduced Schedule Leave

The Final Rule also clarifies the calculation of intermittent leave for FMLA purposes to make clear that an employer cannot require that intermittent FMLA leave be taken in increments longer than the shortest period of time that the employer uses to account for use of other forms of leave provided that it is not greater than one hour and provided further that FMLA leave entitlement may not be reduced by more than the amount of leave actually taken.

New FMLA Poster and New Forms Required

The DOL is requiring a new FMLA poster and use of new FMLA forms effective March 8, 2013. A copy of the poster can be found on the DOL’s website and downloaded atwww.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/posters/fmla.htm. DOL has also created at least one new form and revised other key forms (the new form is WH-385-V, and the revised forms include WH-381, WH-384, and WH-385). The following FMLA forms can now be found on the internet atwww.dol.gov/whd/fmla/2013rule/militaryForms.htm


The FMLA generally applies to employers who have at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius of a single site of employment. If the FMLA applies to your company, in light of these new regulations, you will want to review and likely revise your written FMLA policies and ensure your compliance going forward. 

© Copyright 2020 Armstrong Teasdale LLP. All rights reserved National Law Review, Volume III, Number 62


About this Author

Shelley Ericsson, Labor, Employment, Attorney, Armstrong Teasdale, law firm

Shelley Ericsson provides practical, sophisticated advice to complex legal problems unique to the labor and employment arena.

In state and federal courts and before state, federal, and local administrative agencies, Shelley defends employers in matters involving claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wages. With a deep knowledge of employment law policies and an eye on the ever-changing economic reality, she litigates matters such as Title VII, Section 1981, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Americans with...

Michael Kass, Labor, Employment, Attorney, Armstrong Teasdale, law firm

Michael Kass is chair of Armstrong Teasdale's Employment and Labor Law practice group and is a former co-chair of the firm's Non-Compete/Trade Secrets practice group. He guides organizations, from small closely-held businesses to Fortune 100 companies, through the complex issues faced when managing employees.

Michael defends employers and their managers in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board. Such...