FMLA – New Changes that Need to be in Effect

Updated: October 29, 2009

For the first time in 15 years, changes have been made to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. The Department of Labor has issued a 200-plus page document with extensive FMLA changes. Some of the main points include:

  • Changing requirements for employers in a Professional Employer Organization relationship
  • Allowing family members of wounded military personnel to take up to six months of unpaid leave in a 12-month period to care for their relatives during the recovery process
  • Letting families of National Guard members and the reserves use up to 12 weeks of "qualifying exigency leave" to manage the members' affairs while they are on active duty
  • Expanding the notice requirements for employers and employees

How does this affect your company?

One of the changes that will affect many of our clients is that employers in a coemployment relationship such as a Professional Employer Organization are not necessarily covered due to the PEO relationship. An employer covered by FMLA is any person or entity engaged in commerce or in any industry or activity affecting commerce that employs 50 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year.

What do you need to do?

If an employee requests leave or has been absent due to an ongoing medical condition, contact your Professional Employer Organization representative immediately. They can determine whether or not you are a covered employer and if the employee is eligible for FMLA. Then we will take the appropriate steps to notify them as such.

What Should the Professional Employer Organization do for the Client Company?

The PEO should take steps to learn more about these regulations to ensure compliance for their clients covered by FMLA. They are responsible to notify any employees who miss work due to a qualifying reason in accordance with these final rules. We will also send copies of any FMLA correspondence to you in order to keep you "in the loop" regarding your employees' absence.

The Professional Employer Organization should handle all compliance aspects for our clients who are covered under FMLA. On January 16, the DOL published a new required posting for FMLA guidelines which covered employers must display. Clients who have had 50 or more employees in the past 6 months will be receiving these updates in the mail soon.

For non-covered employers, your current Federal all-in-one poster and 8.5"x11" USERRA and Notice of Family Military Leave posters communicate information regarding FMLA and MFLA to your employees. If you do not currently have these posters, please call the Astra HR Human Resources team at 800-776-0076.

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