Expanded FMLA Rules Take Effect March 8, 2013

Posted on March 8, 2013

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On February 6, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor issued its final regulations implementing two expansions in the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010 (“FY 2010 NDAA”) and the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act (“AFCTCA”). The final rule also revises and clarifies a few other existing regulations. The new rules take effect on March 8, 2013. Some of the key provisions of the rules include:

  • Pre-existing injuries or illnesses, aggravated during active duty service. Military caregiver leave is now extended to family members to care for current servicemembers suffering from a pre-existing injury or illness incurred during or aggravated while in the line of duty.
  • Definition of service member expanded to include certain veterans. Military caregiver leave is expanded to allow care for a covered veteran undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a serious injury or illness incurred or aggravated in the line of duty. Under previous regulations, such leave was not available to care for former members of the Armed Forces (e.g., veterans).
  • Exigency Leave for family members. Leave is available for employees whose spouse, daughter, son, or parent serves in the Regular Armed Forces, where the military member is deployed to a foreign country. Previously, exigency leave was afforded to family members of individuals serving in the National Guard or Reserves only.
  • More exigency leave for family members. Family members may now take up to 15 calendar days (rather than 5 days) as qualifying exigency leave to spend time with a service member who is undergoing short-term rest or recuperation during a period of deployment.

The USDOL also has issued a list of FAQ on the new rules that can be found here. It also has put together a side-by-side comparison of the update rules and the 2008 regulations that can be found here. As a result of the new rules, the USDOL also created a revised FMLA poster that can be found here.

Employers covered by the FMLA (those with 50 employees within a 75-mile radius) should carefully review their current FMLA policies and handbooks and ensure that any necessary revisions are made to reflect the new changes, as well as update their FMLA poster with the new version.

DeWayne Pope
DeWayne Pope LLC

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