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FMLA UPDATE

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The Family and Medical Leave Act has been updated and the changes are effective as of January 16, 2009.  Two of the changes may affect many of our members.

The change which will most affect employees is how much notice must be given to the employer when taking FMLA. When the leave will be for a foreseeable event such as a birth, adoption, planned medical care, etc., then the notice must be at least 30 days in advance.  If this is not possible then the notice must be given “as soon as practicable.”  “As soon as practicable” will be the same day or the next day after the employee finds out the need exists.

For FMLA that arises unforeseeably, the employee must provide notice as soon as practicable, taking into consideration all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the particular case. This will generally be within the time prescribed by the employer’s usual and customary notice requirements applicable to the leave.  In other words the employer’s normal call-in procedure to notify of an absence must be followed.  This eliminates the old rule that provided for a one or two day delay when requesting FMLA.

The other major change, which is an addition, pertains to persons serving in the military. If you have a family member in the military, you can take up to 26 weeks if the service member is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a duty related injury. Along with this addition is a provision for 12 weeks of FMLA for a son, daughter, spouse or parent who is on active duty or is being called up for active duty to deal with all of the problems and activities that go along with that circumstance. This includes the R&R of the active duty person.

The 26 week provision is NOT in addition to the normal 12 FMLA time limit.  Thus, if you use 12 weeks of FMLA for your own needs, you will still have 14 weeks that can be used for a service member.

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