February 5, 2013 was the 20th Anniversary of the date President Clinton signed into law the Family and Medical Leave Act. In conjunction with the anniversary, the U.S. Department of Labor issued its Final Rule implementing the 2010 FMLA amendments. The Final Rule amends the FMLA regulations regarding issues related to airline flight crews as well as qualifying exigency and military caregiver leave. The Rule reflects the change in the statute that expands qualifying exigency leave to include eligible employees with family members serving in the Regular Armed Forces who are deployed to a foreign country. The Rule also expands the amount of qualifying exigency leave that family members may take for Rest and Recuperation from 5 days up to a maximum of 15 days.
Also in conjunction with the anniversary, the Department of Labor released the results of a survey on the use and impact of the FMLA. According to the DOL, 90% of workers return to their employer after FMLA leave and 91% of employers report that complying with the FMLA has either no noticeable effect, or a positive effect, on business operations. The DOL concludes that the survey (titled “Family and Medical Leave Act of 2012: Final Report”) “shows that the law has had a positive effect on the lives of millions of workers and their families without imposing an undue burden on employers.” The DOL goes on to conclude that the survey establishes that employers generally find it easy to comply with the law and that misuse of the FMLA by workers is rare.
To learn more about FMLA or for other employment law questions, please contact Timothy Strong.