DOL Proposes New FMLA Rules

February 24, 2012

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that it is proposing new regulations implementing the changes to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) made by the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act ( Military Leave Amendments) and the 2009 Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act (Flight Crew Amendments).

Military Leave Amendments

The National Defense Authorization Act amended the FMLA to provide leave for qualifying exigencies and military caregiver leave.  According to the Department of Labor website, the major provisions of the proposed rules include the following:

  • the extension of military caregiver leave to eligible family members of recent veterans with a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty;
  • a flexible, three-part definition for serious injury or illness of a veteran;
  • the extension of military caregiver leave to cover serious injuries or illnesses for both current service members and veterans that result from the aggravation during military service of a preexisting condition;
  • the extension of qualifying exigency leave to eligible employees with covered family members serving in the Regular Armed Forces; and
  • inclusion of a foreign deployment requirement for qualifying exigency leave for the deployment of all service members (National Guard, Reserves, Regular Armed Forces).

Flight Crew Amendments

Because of the way duty hours are calculated for airline crews, it is difficult for many of them to qualify for the FMLA’s 1,250 work hours requirement.  The new proposed rules address this in the following manner:

  • the addition of a special hours of service eligibility requirement for airline flight crew employees; and
  • the addition of specific provisions for calculating the amount of FMLA leave used by airline flight crew employees.

The proposed rules have not yet been published in the Federal Register.  Comments to the proposed rules will be due sixty days from the date they are published.  We will continue to monitor this situation and will provide you with updates as they become available.