March 8: Employers Must Begin Complying With Final FMLA Rule

Author: Melissa Burdorf, XpertHR Legal Editor

On February 5, the US Department of Labor (DOL) released a final rule implementing and interpreting the Family and Medical Leave Act amendments expanding military-related leave entitlements and the availability of leave for airline flight crew employees. Employers must comply with the new rule starting March 8, 2013.

The final rule makes some additional regulatory changes. For example it:

  • Adds language to help clarify how employers should calculate intermittent or reduced schedule leave (it does not make any substantive changes);
  • Explains an employer's obligation to comply with the confidentiality requirements of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) when administering FMLA leave; and
  • Adopts language changes intended to be consistent with other laws such as the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

The final rule adds a new optional-use form (WH-385-V) for the certification of a serious injury or illness for a covered veteran. Other FMLA optional-use forms were updated to reflect any necessary changes.

The final rule also removes the FMLA optional-use forms and general notice poster from the appendices to the FMLA regulations in order to accelerate the clearance process when the DOL wants to make non-substantive changes to the forms and poster. An employer may now find the optional-use forms directly on the DOL's website. If an employer uses its own FMLA forms, it should ensure such forms are in compliance with the final rule.

XpertHR will continue to provide insight regarding the final rule. In the interim, employers should review the DOL's website, which includes:

Additional Resources

Employee Leaves > FMLA

February 5 Marks Two Decades of the FMLA

DOL's 20th Anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act webcast