The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued updated Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations ahead of schedule, and just in time for the FMLA’s 20th birthday. The Final Rule addresses family military leave and rules applicable to airline flight crews. The effective date for these updates will be March 8, 2013, for those provisions not already in effect.
Recall that the last major update to the FMLA and its regulations became effective in January 2009, and added the two new major categories of qualifying leave applicable to military families: military caregiver leave and qualifying exigency leave. The latest Final Rule updates FMLA to implement amendments to its military leave provisions made by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed in October 2009 effective for Fiscal Year 2010. Below are the highlights of what the newly issued regulations will change:
With respect to FMLA miltary caregiver leave, the Final Rule:
With respect to the FMLA’s qualifying exigency provision, the new Final Rule:
The Final Rule also removes the forms from the regulations (they will now be on the DOL’s website), clarifies changes regarding the calculation of intermittent or reduced schedule FMLA leave, and makes technical corrections to the current regulations.
In light of the odd hours and on-call time typically required of airline flight crews, the new regulations also implement the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act (AFCTCA), which amends the FMLA to establish special eligibility requirements specifically for airline flight crew members and flight attendants, as well as special rules for calculating leave for such employees.
Whoever administers FMLA leave for your business should familiarize themselves with the requirements of the new FMLA Final Rule and work with employment counsel to update your FMLA policy. Consult the following links to learn more:
A chart comparing the previous regulations to the Final Rule is available from the DOL here: http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/2013rule/comparison.htm.
Required FMLA posters and certification forms are available from the DOL’s website here: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/ca_main.htm.