Employer obligations under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) have recently been expanded for the first
time since its enactment in 1993. On January 28, 2008, President Bush signed into law the fiscal year 2009
Defense Authorization Act (the “Act”). The Act includes provisions that expand the reasons for family medical
leave to include two additional purposes: (1) up to 12 weeks of leave for employees who have a family member
called up for engaged in active military duty; and (2) up to 26 weeks of leave for employees who are serving as
a caregiver to a family member who was injured or became ill while on active military duty. The Act affects all
employers who are subject to the provisions of the FMLA. The Act does not change which employers are subject to the FMLA’s requirements, nor does it change FMLA eligibility requirements.
The FMLA applies to all employers with 50 or more employees on the payroll (including part-timers and employees on leave) in 20 or more workweeks (not necessarily consecutive) in the current or preceding calendar year. The FMLA also applies to public agencies, including state, local, and federal employers, and local education agencies—regardless of employee size.
A California Court of Appeal recently allowed two foreign nurses to proceed with claims under the California
Private Attorneys General Act, on behalf of themselves and others, against a staffing agency for failure to pay
the prevailing wage provided by the Labor Department and for requiring illegal employment agreements. Sinolinding v. United Staffing Solutions Inc., No. B194344; Bascug v. United Staffing Solutions Inc., No.B194899, 2008 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 305 (Jan. 15, 2008). Notably, the court found that a plaintiff can bring such a claim without having to meet the requirements for bringing a class action, and under a code section that can be used to question any documents employees are asked to sign.