More employees entitled to family and medical leave under FMLA

On February 6, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published new regulations implementing amendments made to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).   These changes entitle employees with family members serving in the military and airline employees to leave under the FMLA.  The regulations become effective on March 8, 2013. 

Eligible employees with covered family members serving in the military will be able to take two special types of leave: (1) military caregiver leave and (2) qualifying exigency leave.  Military caregiver leave allows employees an extended period of FMLA leave to care for a family member who is a current servicemember with a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty.  Qualifying exigency leave allows an employee whose spouse, child, or parent is called up for active duty in the National Guard or Reserves to take FMLA leave for certain related exigencies.  Additional information on the military family leave entitlements can be found in Fact Sheet 28A: The Family and Medical Leave Act Military Leave Entitlements at www.dol.gov/whd/fmla.

Airline employees will also be able to take advantage of  protected leave under the FMLA.  The new regulations address a loophole in the FMLA “hours of service” requirements for pilots and flight attendants whose unconventional work schedules did not permit them to meet the hours requirement. The new regulations clarify that the hours that count toward the requirement are hours pilots or flight attendants work, or for which they are paid—not just those spent in actual flight.

For more information on the DOL’s new regulations regarding FMLA, contact your labor law counsel.

By Lisl Duncan

Legal Developments