Winter 2009The changes to the Federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations are effective today, January 16, 2009. A number of rule changes impact employers, for example:
- Employers will now have five days to notify employees of FMLA eligibility.
- Employers can require Health Care Providers (HCP) to address employees' abilities to perform essential job functions in the "fitness for duty release."
- The employer can now contact the HCP directly for clarification or authentication of the certification.
- Employers may now count FMLA qualifying absences against perfect attendance bonuses.
- The rules explain "exigencies" for purposes of taking military family leave.
- The forms have been revised for providing notice of eligibility, rights and responsibilities, and designation of leave.
- New forms for HCP certification have been issued for employer use.
The new forms and fact sheets are located on the U.S. Department of Labor website. Employers should begin using these forms today. If you are unsure of how and if FMLA affects you, contact legal counsel.