On February 6, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a final rule that amends the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The amendments expand and clarify military caregiver and exigency leaves under the FMLA. The amendments also clarify how the FMLA is applied to airline personnel and flight crews.
As provided on the DOL’s Website, the major provisions of the Final Rule include:
• Defining a covered veteran, consistent with statutory limitations, as limited to veterans discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable five years prior to the date the employee’s military caregiver leave begins.
• Permitting eligible employees to obtain certification of a servicemember’s serious injury or illness (both current servicemembers and veterans) from any health care provider as defined in the FMLA regulations, not only those affiliated with the DOD, VA, or TRICARE networks (as was permitted under the 2009 regulations).
• Extending qualifying exigency leave to eligible employees who are family members of members of the Regular Armed Forces and adding the requirement for all military members to be deployed to a foreign country in order to be on "covered active duty" under the FMLA.
• Increasing the amount of time an employee may take for qualifying exigency leave related to the military member’s Rest and Recuperation (R&R) leave from five days to up to 15 days.
• Creating an additional qualifying exigency leave category for parental care leave to provide care necessitated by the covered active duty of the military member for the military member’s parent who is incapable of self-care.
• Creating a unique method of calculation of leave for airline flight crew employees, and establishing that FMLA leave for intermittent or reduced schedule leave usage, taken by airline flight crew employees, must be accounted for using an increment no greater than one day.