Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Love for the FMLA--and it's not even Valentine's Day yet!

Seems that the Family and Medical Leave Act is getting a lot of love in the news here of late.

Expanding Leave Time
President Bush signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008 on January 28, 2008, soon after it was passed by both the House and Senate. The NDAA amended the FMLA to allow leave time of up to 26 weeks for a spouse, child, parent or next of kin (notice the new class of employee eligible to take leave) to care for a “member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness.”

Expanding Bases for Leave
Additionally, the FMLA is now amended to also allow an eligible employee to take leave when a parent, child, or spouse is called to active duty. More information about how and when this will apply is anticipated to come from the regulations that will be issued in response to the amendments.

You can read more about the changes to the FMLA at the Department of Labor's website:

An interesting note: the NDAA states that the changes to FMLA leave are to be effective upon enactment, so we would anticipate that the DOL will be working immediately to craft regulations and guidance for employers.

Changes to the FMLA Regulations?
The DOL also announced recently that it has presented proposed changes to the FMLA regulations, although not to the degree that most have been anticipating in the nearly 6 years since the DOL first announced its intention to work on the regulations. What was presented in the proposed revisions include proposed changes to medical certification for leave requests, waivers and notification of FMLA rights, and determining when approved leave begins. The DOL is remaining tight-lipped about specific details of the proposed regulations, apparently deciding to let the proposals speak for themselves once they are ready for publication. Read more about the proposed changes here:

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Welcome to the first HS&D L&E blog for 2008!

No, we're not going to keep the name "HS&D L&E" for our blog, despite our affinity as attorneys to always speak in "acronymese." We'll fix that in due course (the name, not the affinity for our acronyms--we wouldn't give that up for anything!). But we are excited to introduce you to this new feature of our Labor & Employment team at Hunter, Smith & Davis.

In our continual efforts to ensure our clients are aware of what's happening in the L&E world, we thought it would also be nice to provide a forum for anyone (not just clients) to ask questions and generate discussion. It will only make us better attorneys, and it will hopefully assist those of you reading the blog in meeting your legal obligations as employers.

Our first few posts will be used to introduce you to the members of our team, in addition to talking about the latest in labor and employment.

So, check back frequently, and comment to your heart's content!