Employers should review policies on same-sex couples in wake of Supreme Court decision

October 07, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

With the U.S. Supreme Court deciding not to take up a case to settle the same-sex marriage issue on the national level, employers need to understand how the Court’s decision affects their policies.

As it opened its new term on October 6, the Supreme Court declined to review one of seven cases from five states up for consideration. The Court’s decision means that rulings from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th, 7th, and 10th Circuits will stand. The rulings struck down state prohibitions on same-sex marriage.

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Proposed rule would extend FMLA protection to employees in same-sex marriages

June 20, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 1 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

On June 20, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a proposed rule that would allow employees to take Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave to care for a same-sex spouse even if the couple lives in a state that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages.

The proposed rule is another result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor. The Court struck down the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that interpreted “marriage” and “spouse” to be limited to opposite-sex marriages for the purposes of federal law.

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Rhode Island’s temporary caregiver leave law takes effect January 1

by Timothy C. Cavazza

As of January 1, 2014, Rhode Island’s temporary disability insurance program will be expanded to cover employees taking temporary caregiver leave.

Leave will be available to employees “to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, or to bond with a new child.” An employee who is “unable to perform his or her regular and customary work” for those reasons may receive up to four weeks of temporary caregiver benefits per year. Benefits will be determined and paid for by the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (RIDLT) in accordance with the state’s temporary disability insurance program.

Temporary caregiver leave is similar in some respects to leave granted under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Rhode Island Parental and Family Medical Leave Act (RIPFMLA). For example: read more…

Categories: FMLA / FMLA / Rhode Island

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DOL issues final rule on FMLA expansions

February 05, 2013 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

On February 4, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a final rule implementing two expansions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The rule was issued to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Act.

One of the expansions provides families of eligible veterans with the same FMLA-protected leave available to families of military servicemembers. It also provides leave to more military families for activities that come up when a current servicemember is deployed.

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FMLA’s 20th anniversary: New survey shows use and impact of law

February 05, 2013 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) observed the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) on February 4 by releasing a survey on its use and impact.

The survey, conducted in 2012, follows previous assessments in 1995 and 2000. Both employees and worksites were surveyed. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Most worksites aren’t covered by the FMLA, but more than half of all employees are eligible. The survey’s executive summary notes that 17% of worksites reported being covered by the Act, and another 30% said they weren’t sure if they were covered. Although many employers are too small to be covered, most employees across the country are covered. According to the survey, 59% of employees meet the requirements to be eligible for the FMLA’s protections. The survey addressed what would happen if the law were changed to cover more employees. “Expanding eligibility to smaller worksites would modestly increase eligibility,” it states. “Currently, eligibility requires that firms have 50 employees within 75 miles of this worksite; lowering the cutoff to 30 employees would increase eligibility from 59 percent to 63 percent, [and] lowering it further to 20 employees would increase it to 67 percent.”

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DOL interpretation tackles FMLA rule on caring for adult children

January 16, 2013 - by: HR Hero Alerts 2 COMMENTS

A new U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Administrator’s Interpretation has been issued to clarify who qualifies as an adult “son or daughter” whom an employee may take unpaid leave from work to care for and rely on the job protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

An adult son or daughter must meet four requirements before the employee may take FMLA leave to provide care. (The employee must also meet all of the other requirements under the FMLA, such as employer coverage and employee eligibility.) The son or daughter must (1) have a mental or physical disability as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as amended by the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), (2) be incapable of caring for himself because of the disability, (3) have a serious health condition, and (4) be in need of care because of the serious health condition.

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States Retain Sovereign Immunity from Suit Under FMLA Self-Care Provisions

March 21, 2012 - by: Holly Jones 1 COMMENTS

In a 5-4 opinion delivered Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court held that state employers are immune from suit for damages under the self-care provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

In the case, Daniel Coleman sued his employer, the Court of Appeals of the State of Maryland, for $1.1 million in damages when he was refused sick leave to attend to a documented medical condition. The lower courts dismissed Coleman’s case, holding that the claim was barred by the Eleventh Amendment’s grant of sovereign immunity to states, which prevents states from being sued for monetary damages.

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Categories: FMLA / Maryland / U.S. Supreme Court

New FMLA Certification Forms Available

February 16, 2012 - by: Tammy Binford 3 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released new certification forms for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The new forms carry an expiration date of February 28, 2015, and replace forms that had a December 31, 2011, expiration date.

The new forms appear to be identical to the old forms except for the expiration date. They don’t include the “safe harbor” language required by the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which informs employees that they shouldn’t provide any genetic information when responding to any employer request for medical information.

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Categories: DOL / EEOC / FMLA / GINA

Proposed Rule Would Change FMLA Leave Calculation and Employee Reinstatement

February 16, 2012 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Update (April 13, 2012): The deadline for submitted comments about the proposed rule change has been extended until April 30, 2012

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is proposing a rule change that would affect how employers calculate leave time under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and how employees are to be reinstated after FMLA leave.

If the proposed rule is finalized, employers will be required to calculate FMLA leave using the shortest increments they use to track work time. This is a return to the way the rules were written before a 2009 change that allowed employers to track FMLA leave the same way they track other forms of leave. For example, under the current rule an employer can calculate leave time in one-hour increments if it requires employees to take other forms of leave in one-hour increments — even if the employer uses shorter increments to calculate work time. Under the new rule, if an employer tracks work time in shorter increments, it will have to track FMLA leave in those increments.

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Categories: DOL / FMLA

White House Proposes Expanded Military FMLA Leave Provisions

January 31, 2012 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

The Obama administration is proposing expanded leave provisions under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for military families. The proposed rule would extend the entitlement of military caregiver leave to family members of veterans for up to five years after the veteran leaves the military. At the present time, the law covers family members of “currently serving” service members.

The proposed changes would allow up to 26 weeks of leave from work for a spouse, parent, or child who cares for a veteran with a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty, Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis said while making the announcement on January 30. That includes conditions that don’t show up until after the veteran has left military service.

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Categories: Federal Laws / FMLA / HR Hero Alerts

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