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

Expired FMLA Forms OK for Now

January 11, 2012 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The calendar now says 2012, but employers may notice that their Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) carry a December 31, 2011, expiration date. What to do? For now, just keep using the old forms.

The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has submitted the forms for medical certification, leave designation, and certification related to service member leave for renewal to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Until the OMB approves the documents, you can continue to use the expired forms.

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Categories: DOL / FMLA / GINA / WHD

How to Avoid Perilous FMLA Mistakes (video)

November 04, 2011 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Documentation is critical to warding off trouble when dealing with Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requests, according to employment law attorney Stacie L. Caraway, who led a session on FMLA at the October Advanced Employment Issues Symposium (AEIS) in Nashville, Tennessee.

Caraway names two critical points. First, don’t let doctors leave blanks or write “unknown” when better information is available. The second point deals with how to make sure the forms from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) work with the employer’s policies.

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Categories: FMLA

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Employers Warned to Include GINA Disclosure on FMLA Forms (video)

November 03, 2011 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Employers have some new language to include on certain Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms because of the Genetic Information Nondisclosure Act (GINA), according to employment law attorney Stacie L. Caraway, who led an FMLA session at the October Advanced Employment Issues Symposium in Nashville, Tennessee.

Caraway says a one-paragraph statement is available on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) website and tells doctors not to include any genetic information on the FMLA certification form. Including the EEOC language also gives employers a “safe harbor” showing that even if the doctor provides prohibited information, the employer didn’t violate the law.

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Categories: EEOC / FMLA / GINA

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Getting Answers to Advanced FMLA Questions (video)

November 02, 2011 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Not all Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) questions have clear answers, and that often can put employers in a quandary, according to Bradd N. Siegel, who spoke on the issue at the recent Advanced Employment Issues Symposium in Nashville, Tennessee.

That means employers must understand “where the regulations stop short of giving clear answers to some pretty basic questions,” says Siegel, editor of Ohio Employment Law Letter and a partner with Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP in Columbus.

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Categories: FMLA

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DOL Announces ‘Bridge to Justice’ Attorney Referral System

December 14, 2010 - by: Holly Jones 0 COMMENTS

It may soon be easier for employees to find private legal representation after the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) declines to pursue their Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claims. This is thanks to a new collaboration between the WHD and the American Bar Association (ABA) to establish an attorney referral system. Vice President Joe Biden, along with Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, announced this new “Bridge to Justice” program at a Middle Class Task Force event on November 19, 2010.

Starting December 13, 2010, when workers with FLSA or FMLA claims are told that the WHD is not going to pursue their complaints, they may be given a toll-free number to contact the new ABA-Approved Attorney Referral System. If they call this number, they will be referred to ABA-approved attorney referral service providers in their area.

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