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Recent FMLA Revisions: Are Your Policies Up to Date?

Submitted by Firm:
Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus, P.C.
Firm Contacts:
Abtin Mehdizadegan, J. Bruce Cross, Misty Wilson Borkowski
Article Type:
Legal Update
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The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently revised several provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which may require employers to revisit their current policies regarding FMLA. Primarily, the new regulations focus on clarifying and supplementing changes made to FMLA's military-related family leave provisions by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010. Listed below are the FMLA's most prominent recent changes:

  1. Family members of Regular Armed Forces service members are now eligible for qualifying exigency leave. Previously, only members of the National Guard and Reserves were eligible.
  2. A new provision states that in order to qualify as "covered active duty," a military member must now be deployed in a foreign country.
  3. Under a new qualifying exigency leave category for parental care leave, eligible employees may use parental care leave to care for the parent of a military-member that has been placed on covered active duty.
  4. The maximum time an employee may take for Rest and Recuperation qualifying exigency leave has been expanded from 5 to 15 calendar days.
  5. Under the new regulations, in order to qualify as a "covered veteran," an individual must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable within five years of the first date an eligible employee takes FMLA leave to care for the covered veteran.
  6. "Covered service member" now includes those veterans with the following conditions: (1) an illness or injury incurred in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces; or (2) an illness or injury aggravated in the line of duty. Additionally, a new and more flexible definition of serious illness has been created.
  7. Health care providers not affiliated with the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans' Affairs or TRICARE are now authorized to complete a certification for military caregiver leave for a covered service member. This is an expansion of the list of health care providers authorized to complete the forms.

The Department of Labor has also revised the FMLA poster to reflect these changes. The deadline for covered employers to display the new poster is March 8, 2013. Click here to download the updated poster.