Family Medical Leave Act RevisionsThis presentation regards the Family and Medical Leave Act and the revisions and changes that were enacted effective January 2009.
The objectives for this presentation will include reviewing the previous FMLA of 1993, then discussing the revisions and changes to the act, and finally concluding with best practices for your organization.
Now we will discuss Family and Medical Leave Act of 2009.The revisions to this act were effective January 2009.There are many small revisions and changes but we have divided them into three main categories.
Updates to FMLA regulations implement the new military leave entitlements enacted under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 (NDAA).The first of the two sections of the Military Leave Requirements refers to Caregiver Leave.This provision not only extends the time allowed for leave but also extends FMLA protection to additional family members (next of kin) beyond those who may take FMLA leave for other qualifying reasons.
In addition to the Military Leave entitlements, there have also been changes to FMLA Notice requirements.The final rule strengthens and clarifies the employer notice requirements to better inform employees and allow for a better exchange of information.Employers are required to provide notice to employees about FMLA upon hire (through a poster, handbook, etc). Notices can be done electronically but must always be done in a language that can be understood by the employee.The final rule extends the time for employers to provide various notices, such as designating leave as FMLA following an FMLA request, from 2 business days to 5 business days.For Employees- the old rule was interpreted to allow some employees to provide notice to an employer of the need for FMLA leave up to 2 full business days after an absence, even if they could have provided notice more quickly.The final rule provides that an employee needing FMLA leave must follow an employer’s usual and customary call-in procedure for reporting an absence.
There have also been changes to the certification requirements for FMLA leave. In response to concerns raised by employees about medical privacy, a requirement has been added to the final rule specifying an employer’s representative contacting a health care provider must not be a supervisor.Also the final rule allows an employer to request recertification of an ongoing condition every 6 months
Furthermore, employers may not ask health care providers for additional information beyond that required by a certification form.However, an employer can ask for more information if they deem the medical certificate incomplete. Written notice is required by employer in this case.Fitness for Duty- employer is allowed to require employees who take leave to provide a certification that they are able to resume work.Changes to the Fitness For Duty process include:1)The employer may require the certification specifically address ability to perform essential job functions. 2) Where reasonable safety concerns exist, an employer may require Fitness for Duty certification before an employee may return to work when taking intermittent leave.
We will leave you with some Food for Thought to mull over regarding FMLA. Regarding military leave requirements- now many more employees are covered and have reason for taking FMLA- what kind of impact will it have on your organization when the war ends and service members come home or if more service members are deployed?