U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) Issues New Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) Regulations And Poster

February 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the passage of the FMLA. During that time there have been numerous changes, including regulations issued by the DOL earlier this month. Effective March 8, 2013, the new regulations expand coverage for family members of covered military servicemembers and veterans, including:

    •  Increasing the number of days an eligible family member can take to bond with a servicemember on rest and recuperation leave during deployment;
    • Expanding qualifying exigency leave to include leave to make arrangements for the care of parents of servicemembers; and
    • Expanding military caregiver leave to include leave to care for certain military veterans.

The regulations also clarify that eligible employees must be allowed to use intermittent FMLA leave in at least one hour increments. Employees may take leave in smaller increments than one hour if the employer allows shorter increments for other types of leave.

The regulations remind employers to comply with the confidentiality requirements of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act when receiving family medical history or genetic information from employees. For example, such information must be maintained as confidential medical records separate from the employee’s personnel file.

In addition, the DOL has published an updated FMLA poster, which is available here. Covered employers should replace their current FMLA poster and review their current FMLA policies and forms to ensure that they are consistent with the regulations.