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eLABORate: Expanded FMLA Rules Take Effect March 8, 2013: Get Your New Poster and Know the Rules

March 05, 2013

On February 6, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor issued its final rule, implementing two important areas of expansion in the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA” or “the Act”). The final rule was entered in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Act. Because the effective date for the final rule is March 8, 2013, it will be imperative that all entities covered by the FMLA are aware of the changes and timely adjust their policies for compliance.

The final rule serves as the last step in the implementation and enforcement of the amendments to the FMLA made by the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2010 and the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act. While certain portions of the statute are already in effect, the final rule reflects the Department of Labor’s efforts to analyze the amendments to the Act and implement its own amendments to the complementary regulations found in Chapter V of Title 29 by revising part 825 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The rule and its preamble require careful analysis, but among the major elements, the rules provide as follows:  

  1. Extends the availability of FMLA leave to family members of members of the Regular Armed Forces for qualifying exigencies arising out of the servicemember’s deployment;
  2. Defines those deployments covered under these provisions;
  3. Extends FMLA military caregiver leave for family members of current servicemembers to include an injury or illness that existed prior to service and was aggravated in the line of duty on active duty;
  4. Extends FMLA military caregiver leave to family members of certain veterans with serious injuries or illness;
  5. Amends the regulations to implement the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act which establishes eligibility requirements specifically for airline flight crewmembers and flight attendants for FMLA leave;
  6. Clarifies revisions concerning calculation of intermittent or reduced schedule FMLA leave; and,
  7. Reorganizes certain sections of the regulation for clarity and modifies others for technical correction.

The implementation of the final rule resulted in the creation of a revised poster which is already available for employers on the internet.  All covered employers are advised to replace their existing poster with the revised version by March 8, 2013. Further, employers should carefully review their current policies and handbooks in order to ensure that any necessary revision are made to reflect the changes implemented by the final rule, and develop a communications strategy to bring HR professional and managers up to date on the new provisions.

To view the Department of Labor's new poster, click here.