By: John E. Murray
Last month the Department of Labor issued final regulations clarifying the right of eligible employees to take FMLA leave relating to military leave. These regulations take effect today. The relevant changes to the DOL’s prior regulations are:
- FMLA leave is available for qualifying exigencies arising out of the active duty of the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent, only when that active duty involves deployment to a foreign country.
- Eligible employees may take leave to care for the parent of a military member if the parent is incapable of self – care and the care provided by the employee is necessary because of the military member’s active duty.
- The amount of leave an employee may take to spend time with a military member on rest and recuperation leave has been expanded from 5 days to 15 days.
- The spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next – of – kin of a military member, may take up to 26 work weeks of FMLA leave to care for a former service member who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable discharge during the 5 years prior to the first day of leave.
- The definition of serious injury or illness for a covered service member now includes conditions which existed prior to active duty which were aggravated in the course of active duty.
- The list of healthcare providers authorized to complete a certification for service members has been expanded to include caregivers who are not affiliated with the Department of Defense, the Veterans’ Administration or TRICARE. Second and third opinions may be required for certifications provided by these healthcare providers.
- Documentation of enrollment in the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers can be sufficient certification if the employee also provides information about the military member’s familiar relationship to the employee, the military member’s discharge date and the military member’s status.
For employers who use the DOL’s forms, the Department has issued new forms for the leaves affected by these regulations. They are available from the DOL’s website. For employers who have developed their own forms, these changes will require modification only to the extent any of the current forms are inconsistent with the new regulations, or they fail to fullyadvise employees of their rights.
Finally, the Department of Labor has issued a new FMLA poster which incorporates the new regulations. You can view a copy of the poster by clicking: It also is available at www.dol.gov/whd
and local Wage and Hour District Offices.
If you have questions about whether your FML A forms require modification, please call John Murray at 414-226-4818, or call any other Lindner & Marsack attorney at 414-273-3910.