FMLA Military Leaves Updated
In January 2008, Congress amended the FMLA by providing two new types of qualifying leaves, both related to military service:
Exigency Leave – which provides up to 12 weeks of leave for an employee to provide support to a spouse, son, daughter, or parent who is a member of the National Guard and/or Reserves who has been called to active duty or who has been notified on an impending call to active duty.
Caregiver Leave – which provides up to 26 weeks of leave for an employee to provide care for a spouse, son, daughter, parent, or “next of kin” who is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces (both active duty as well as National Guard and Reserves) with a serious injury or illness incurred while on active military duty.
Effective immediately, the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act expands these military leaves in the following manner:
- Exigency Leave is now also available to an employee with an eligible family member who is an active duty service member in regular military service (no longer just members of the National Guard or Reserves) and who is deployed to a foreign country.
- Caregiver Leave is now also available to an employee with an eligible family member who is a veteran receiving medical treatment, recuperating, or undergoing therapy within five years of incurring the serious injury or illness while they were on active military duty.
As a reminder, FMLA applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. Covered employers should be aware that the new FMLA regulations detail extensive posting and notice requirements. Please contact Vantaggio if you need help getting in compliance with this ever-changing and complicated topic.
For details about the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, click here:
What does this mean for employers?
- Update your employee handbook immediately to include information on the new service member leave provisions.
- Update your employment law poster just as soon as the new FMLA language becomes available in poster form. Click here for information about Vantaggio’s all-in-one federal and state poster sets. Remember, if you are a current client on our relax™ program, you receive one set of posters each year at no cost, but please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the waiting list for 2010 posters.
- Update your FMLA notices and medical certifications. We hope the DOL will update its current model notices and medical certification forms as a result of this new legislation. However, be advised that the current model notices do not include information on the expansion provisions described above. If you currently use the Vantaggio federal and state Leave Administration Kit, this next release will be ready by November 15. We will be contacting you with details. For anyone NOT yet using Vantaggio’s Leave Administration Kit, we urge you now, more than ever, to consider purchasing it. Please click here for details.
- Train your front-line managers who need to be able to pick up on information from employees that may trigger even a potential need for FMLA leave and the ensuing requirement for the employer to begin the notice and documentation process. Remember that employees do not need to specifically request FMLA in order to be eligible.