Employment: New FMLA Regulations Loom
On January 30, the Department of Labor published its desired regulations. The public has sixty days in which to comment prior to implementing the regulations. Sometimes the comments result in actual changes to the regulations, while often the regulations are implemented without change.
According to a press release by the DOL,
[t]he proposed language would extend the entitlement of military caregiver leave to family members of veterans for up to five years after leaving the military. At this time, the law only covers family members of "currently serving" service members. Additionally, the proposal expands the military family leave provisions of the FMLA by extending qualifying exigency leave to employees whose family members serve in the regular armed forces. Currently, the law only covers families of National Guard members and reservists.
For airline flight crew employees, the proposed revision makes the benefits of the FMLA more accessible. It would add a special hours of service eligibility requirement for them and specific provisions for calculating the amount of FMLA leave used that better take into account the unique - and often difficult to track - hours worked by crew members.
Of course, this is only the high profile part of the proposed regulations - the part you will hear about on the news. Also included are regulations addressing many of the mundane (but necessary) administrative tasks facing employers trying to administer the FMLA. For example, there are proposed regulations on determining whether an employee has worked the requisite 1,250 hours, additional guidance on intermittent or reduced schedule leave, how to calculate leave time, and record-keeping requirements.
If you employ 50 or more employees (such that you are covered by the FMLA), just be aware that new regulations are coming. We will let you know more at our upcoming Workshop and in future editions of our e-newsletter.
By Kristen L. Brightmire, firstname.lastname@example.org