[FMLA Watch] 5 Warnings for Employers

Employers and HR managers know: keeping up with changing employment regulations can be challenging. One of the biggest culprits? The ever-evolving Family and Medical Leave Act, which can create significant problems for companies that fail to respond to new rules and interpretations of the Act.

The solution? Start here – heed these five FMLA warnings from employment attorneys and law firms on JD Supra:

1. Don’t neglect FMLA notice requirements:

“Wackenhut met its general FMLA notice obligations in that it included in its employee handbook a notice to employees of their FMLA rights and also posted the DOL’s FMLA poster. However, when Young sought and took FMLA leave, she took all 12 weeks without having received from Wackenhut a Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities and a Designation Notice… In Young’s case, she exhausted her 12 weeks of FMLA leave, and when she failed to return after her leave expired, Wackenhut terminated her employment two weeks later. When Young filed an FMLA interference claim and later filed a motion for summary judgment, the court ruled in favor of Young.” (Franczek Radelet)

2. Monitor intermittent leave abuse:

“Implement a policy under which any employee with approved intermittent FMLA leave must identify the leave as being taken pursuant to the policy when calling in. Additionally, require employees to certify in a signed writing, on return, that time off was taken pursuant to approved intermittent leave. This procedure allows for full tracking of all FMLA hours used, and may serve as a deterrent to improper use of leave time.” (Foley & Lardner)

3. Prepare for increased enforcement:

“The proposed 2013 budget includes $1.8 billion for the funding of worker protection agencies, including a $6 million request for increased enforcement of the FMLA and the Fair Labor Standards Act. This will likely result in more audits of employer business practices and leave policies, DOL investigations and FMLA litigation.” (Messer & Caparello)

4. Get ready for additional leave requests for care of disabled adult children:

“A lingering question has been whether the onset of the child’s disability had to occur prior to the child turning 18 in order for the adult child’s parent to be eligible for FMLA leave. DOL has now clarified that it is irrelevant whether the onset of the disabling condition occurred before or after the child turned 18. DOL’s interpretation falls in line with the majority of courts that have decided the issue.” (McNees Wallace & Nurick)

5. Watch for expanded military family leave eligibility:

“The Military Family Leave Act of 2013 would allow employees (regardless of hours worked or who they work for) to take up to two workweeks of leave in any 12-month period if their family member: 1) is notified of an impending call or order to active duty in support of a contingency operation; or 2) is deployed in connection with a contingency operation. […] For those keeping track at home, a ‘contingency operation’ is a military operation that involves or may involve military actions, operations, or hostilities against an enemy of the United States or against an opposing military force, or one that results in a call to active duty during a war or national emergency.” (Franczek Radelet)

The updates:

Related reading:

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