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Letter to Leaders

FMLA Proposed And Approved Changes

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – has long been a difficult thing for employers to manage, largely because of the vagueness throughout the act.

News reports have been blaring about ‘proposed changes’, but they really are only proposals.

The one firm change that has been enacted is the Military Leave provision, which went into effect on January 28. It says, in part:

Employers to provide up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave to eligible employees to care for recovering injured or ill service members.

The proposed changes – which have not been enacted yet, are:

  1. 12 weeks of leave because of any qualifying “exigency” arising out of the fact that a covered family member is or has been called to be on active duty.

  2. Employees would need to notify their employer that they need FMLA leave no later than the next day following a qualified need for the leave.

  3. Employers will now have to provide notice of FMLA rights annually, but will have longer to provide designation of leave – 5 days instead of the current 2 days.

  4. A proposed change would allow employers to contact a worker’s health provider about the need for leave. The proposed changes would remove that restriction. Some employers have looked for this change so doctors have fuller information about the worker’s responsibilities and working conditions before making judgments on a worker’s need for time off.

  5. Another change would require workers to make two medical visits in a 30-day period to qualify as needing continuing treatment.

Employers have until April 11 to file comments with the Department of Labor.


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