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Showing 6 posts in Family Medical Leave Act.

Department of Labor Announces Proposal to Revise the Definition of “Spouse” Under the FMLA to Include Same-Sex Couples

On June 20, 2014, the Department of Labor announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to revise the definition of “spouse” under the FMLA following the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, which held section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional.  The FMLA generally provides that eligible employees are entitled to unpaid leave in order to care for the employee’s spouse, if the spouse (1) has a serious health condition, (2) is a military member deployed to a foreign country; or (3) is undergoing medical treatment related to an injury sustained on active duty.  In its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the DOL suggests two major changes to the definition of spouse.  First, it specifically includes same-sex marriages.  Second, it proposes to look where the marriage was entered into, rather than an individual’s state of residence, such that a spouse will be covered by the FMLA if the marriage was entered into in a State that recognized the marriage.    Read More ›

The 12 Days of Medical Leave: Dealing with FMLA Abuse Around the Holidays

An employee asks to use vacation days near the holidays, but the request is denied due to the employee’s seniority level and the number of other employees who have already requested vacation time for the same dates.  Later, the employee requests FMLA leave to cover the same dates.  As another holiday season comes to a close, these facts may sound all too familiar to employers. 

Are the employers’ hands tied simply because the employee uses the magic word “FMLA,” or because she has submitted a doctor’s certification supporting her entitlement to leave?  No, employers can, and should, take several different actions to help minimize FMLA abuse.  Read More ›

New FMLA Regulations Require Employer Attention

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) on February 5, 2013 by issuing a revised Final Rule implementing FMLA expansions.  The changes were effective March 8, 2013 and expanded FMLA protection for military families, airline personnel and flight crews.  The new FMLA regulations also require covered employers to update their FMLA posters and policies. 

The Final Rule amends regulations of the FMLA in order to implement amendments to the military leave provisions of the FMLA made by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 and regulations to implement the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act.  The Final Rule also implements clarifying changes for the calculation of intermittent and reduced schedule leave.  Read More ›

Court Rules That Collective Bargaining Agreements May Affect FMLA Eligibility

A federal court recently ruled that the terms of a collective bargaining agreement qualified an otherwise ineligible employee for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. In Valentino v. Wickliffe City School District Board of Education, the employer moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff employee had not worked the requisite 1,250 hours in the year immediately preceding her request for FMLA leave. The employee responded, arguing that her request was covered by the FMLA because she had worked the requisite number of hours in the eligibility period identified in her CBA, which stated that, for the purposes of determining whether an employee qualifies for family leave, the term “year” is defined as the school year, from July 1 to June 30. Noting that this was “an unchartered area,” the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio ruled that the CBA definition controlled. In support of its decision, the Court cited 29 U.S.C. §2652(a), which states that none of the provisions of the FMLA should be “construed to diminish the obligation of an employer to comply with any collective bargaining agreement or any employment benefit program or plan that provides greater family or medical leave rights to employees” than the FMLA.

This case is a good reminder that unionized employers need to be aware of any relevant provisions in collective bargaining agreements when they make decisions regarding an employee’s rights under the FMLA.

The "Honest Belief" Rule: A Process Oriented Defense

In a recent case, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed that the “honest belief” rule may shield an employer from a retaliation claim under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The greater definition to the “honest belief” rule provided by the Court in that case provides guidance to employers being accused of discrimination or retaliation by an employee who claims that he or she was the victim of an inadequate investigation. Read More ›

How Do You Count To Twelve?

The Family Medical Leave Act requires covered employers to permit eligible employees to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave during any twelve month period because of a serious health condition that renders them unable to perform their job duties. A recent decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has emphasized just how important it is for employers to make it clear just how they are counting to "twelve months" for purposes of determining whether an employee has used up all of his or her leave. Read More ›