New FMLA regulations are in effect,
so what does this mean for you?
Military Family Leave added to FMLA – The new regulations include provisions to allow the “spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin” of injured military personnel to take up to 26 weeks of leave during a 12-month period to care for a “member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status…on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness.”
Additionally, Employers must provide 12 weeks of FMLA leave to the spouse, son, daughter or parent of a service member who is on active duty (or has been notified of a pending call or order to return to active duty).
This leave includes: to address issues related to short notice deployment; leave for military events, and related activities; leave to arrange for alternative childcare or to provide emergency childcare; leave to make or update financial arrangements; leave to attend counseling; leave to spend time with a covered military member who is on short-term temporary rest and recuperation leave during a period of deployment; and leave for post-deployment activities.
Post the New FMLA Poster – Employers are required to post the new U.S. Department of Labor (‘DOL”) FMLA poster (either prominently in the office or electronically in some situations). A copy of the poster can be obtained by contacting the DOL.
Revise Your Organization’s FMLA Policy – Employers need to revise their FMLA policies to bring them into compliance with the new regulations. This includes revising employee handbooks. The new regulations require that any written FMLA policy contain, at minimum, the information that is contained in the FMLA poster.
Also, ensure that your human resource professionals are familiar with the new regulations and understand how to apply them.
Start using the New FMLA Forms – The new regulations include several new notice requirements. For example, an employer must provide employees a Notice of Eligibility and Rights and Responsibilities within five business days of an employee’s request for FMLA-qualifying leave.
In addition, there are new certifications employers can request from employees regarding the need for leave. For example, if an employer plans to require certification of the need for leave, the employer must provide the certification form to the employee, along with any required notices. Employees must be given at least fifteen days to return certification.
- Familiarize yourself with the Other Changes contained in the Regulations – Beside adding the military leave regulations, the new regulations make other changes, including defining “periodic visits to a health care provider” for chronic serious health conditions as at least two visits to a health care provider per year.