DOL Expands FMLA Coverage for Military Family Leave

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To mark the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) released the results of a study showing “employers generally find it easy to comply with the law, and misuse of the FMLA by workers is rare.” According to the Department of Labor’s press release, 91 percent of employers report that complying with the FMLA “has either no noticeable effect or a positive effect on business operations such as employee absenteeism, turnover and morale.”

The FMLA covers private sector employers who have 50 or more employees, public agencies, and certain federal employers and entities. Over the last twenty years, most covered employers have become fairly accustomed to granting more traditional forms of FMLA leave. These employers have little difficulty recognizing the need to grant up to twelve weeks of FMLA leave when an employee needs leave due to the birth, foster care or adoption of a child, or because of the serious health condition of an employee or his or her covered family member. Most covered employers also recognize that an employee returning from FMLA leave is generally entitled to be restored to his or her same position and that the FMLA is not the only source of protected leave rights for employees.

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