An updated FMLA poster reflecting the changes addressed in this article must be posted by March 8, 2013. Contact CBIA’s Marcy Flemke after March 1 to purchase a copy (email@example.com; 860.244.1948) or visit cbia.com/store.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) marked the 20th anniversary of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by issuing a final rule implementing two expansions of FMLA protections. The first expansion provides families of eligible veterans with the same job-protected FMLA leave already available to family members of current service members. This means that family members of veterans, as well as of current service members, will now have far greater abilities to attend to personal matters and medical needs related to their family members’ service. The second expansion modifies existing rules so that airline personnel and fight crews are better able to make use of the FMLA’s protections.
The initial rule, now being expanded, implemented congressional amendments to the FMLA permitting eligible workers to take up to 26 workweeks of leave to care for a current service member with a serious injury or illness. Congress also created qualifying exigency leave, which permits eligible employees to take up to 12 workweeks of leave for qualifying exigencies arising out of the active duty or call to active duty of a family member serving in the National Guard or Reserve. The leave can be used, for example, to attend a spouse’s farewell and welcome home ceremonies without being penalized at work or to spend time with family members on leave from active duty service.
The final rule also implements amendments clarifying the application of the FMLA to airline personnel and flight crews. Until the amendments, many flight crews did not meet FMLA eligibility criteria due to the unique way in which their hours are counted. The legislation authorized the department to tailor FMLA regulations to extend protections to these uniquely situated employees