The U.S. Department of Labor recently issued a final rule to the Family and Medical Leave Act, implementing two new congressional expansions affecting the rights of families of military members and veterans and the access to FMLA leave for airline flight crews. The revised FMLA became effective March 8, 2013, and entitles eligible employees to take unpaid leave for family or medical reasons.
Family Leave for Armed Forces Members and Veterans
The first expansion enables families of members of the Armed Forces to take leave when a current military member is deployed. Also, the first expansion extends job-protected FMLA leave currently available to families of service members to families of eligible veterans.
This expansion allows for family members of veterans and current servicemembers a greater ability to take leave to address the medical needs of these family members.
Airline Flight Crew Eligibility for FMLA
The second congressional expansion adjusts the rule of required number of hours airline flight crew employees must meet to be eligible for FMLA leave. These changes, implemented by the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act (AFCTCA) state an airline flight crew member will be eligible for FMLA leave if during the previous 12-month period the employee has done one of the following:
- Worked or has been paid for at least 60 percent of the applicable total monthly guarantee
- Worked or has been paid for at least 504 hours, not including time spent commuting, on vacation, or on medical or sick leave.
With this change, the Department of Labor anticipates approximately 6,000 flight crew members to take new FMLA leave.
Employers to Adjust FMLA Policies
As a result of the expansions, companies should familiarize themselves with all FMLA rulings and adjust policies to accommodate these rules for employees.
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