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Final Revised FMLA Regulations

Final Revised FMLA Regulations
09 Sep 2009 Uncategorized

Final Revised FMLA Regulations

On November 17, 2008, the US Department of Labor published its final revised regulations for the Family and Medical Leave Act. The new regulations provide, among other things, much needed clarification relating to “qualifying exigency” and “servicemember” leaves which were added to the FMLA in January 2008. The new regulations take effect January 16, 2009, which requires employers to act quickly in revising policies, training managers and implementing the new requirements.

“Qualifying Exigency” Leave: This allows eligible employees to take FMLA leave to handle affairs involving the employee’s spouse, parent or child who is on active duty or called to active duty status. “Qualifying exigencies” include short-notice deployment, attendance at military events and related activities, child care and school activities, financial and legal arrangements, attending counseling, rest and recuperation and attending post-deployment activities.

Qualifying exigency leave counts against the eligible employee’s 12 week allotment. Additionally, intermittent and reduced schedule leave are available for qualifying exigencies.

“Servicemember” Leave: Eligible employees may take leave to care for a covered relative with a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty “while on active duty” that “may render the servicemember medically unfit to perform the duties of his or her office, grade, rank, or rating.” An eligible employee is entitled to up to 26 weeks “in a single 12-month period.” Simply, this leave is available in subsequent 12-month periods for different covered servicemembers, or for the same covered servicemember if he or she contracts a new qualifying injury or illness. The 12-month period begins on the first day of the leave and ends 12 months from that date, regardless of the normal method used by the employer to calculate FMLA leave.

“Eligible Employees”: An employee is eligible for FMLA leave if he or she (i) has been employed by the entity for at least 12 months; (ii) has had at least 1250 hours of service in the 12-month period immediately preceding the start of leave; and (iii) is employed at a work site that has 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius. The new regulations provide that if an employee has a break in service lasting seven years or less, the employee’s service prior to the break must be counted when determining if the employee has been employed for at least 12 months.

“Serious Health Condition”: As to serious health conditions involving more than 3 consecutive, full calendar days of incapacity plus 2 or more days of treatment to a healthcare provider, the new regulations require the 2 visits must occur within 30 days of the first day of incapacity and the first in-person visit must occur within 7 days of incapacity.

As to serious health conditions involving more than 3 consecutive, full calendar days of incapacity plus a regimen of continuing treatment, the new regulations require the first in-person visit to occur within 7 days of the first day of incapacity.

As to serious health conditions involving “chronic conditions”, the new regulations require at least 2 visits for treatment per year.

This is only a summary of the new FMLA regulations. For more information, please contact Robert Tandy at (201) 474-7103.

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