I just wanted to see what everone thinks/feels about the new FMLA changes.
I am new to the FMLA scene and thoughts about not designating a leave correctly or in time keeps me up at night Have a great Day!
Luckily, the new regulations don't take effect until Jan. 16, 2009. At least we have a little time to digest the 762 page document (about 200 pages of actual regulations) the DOL issued. My initial read is that some things are clarified, like what a "qualifying exigency" is for family military leave, while others are a bit harder to understand, like how to calculate leave when military leave and FMLA overlap--not to mention state law leave requirements. I think HR people will need a lot of guidance to get clear on all of this!
There are some good points and things that still didn't get cleared up. There will probably be a lot of information coming out in the next few weeks on this. I know that this website (hr.blr.com) has put together some articles. SHRM is having a webinar on this on Dec 3rd. A couple of the national law firms that usually do free webinars on major changes like this are talking about having free webinars as well. As I hear of some of these I will post on here about them.
Here is an article I read today that had some good information:
One of the other things that is going to come into play is with the changes in ADA AA. Since more people are going to qualify under the ADA, it will be interesting to see how the FMLA and the new ADA AA play together. I was on a webinar the other day about the ADA AA and the attorney was stating that there is going to be employees that use up their 12 weeks of FMLA and then can go on with more leave that is considered a reasonable accomodation under the ADA AA.
Lots of changes in these regs, especialy the notice and medical certification end of things. I signed up for BLR's audioconference on 12/5 and there are lots of articles being generated by law firms! The BLR conference information is at http://www.blr.com/product.cfm?product=30549600&funcode=RP01
We are eligible starting May 2009, so I was able to update as I have setup administration and forms for the process. It was a good time to do so, especially with the DOL providing the new forms. I do like that there are separate forms depending on leave type. It makes it a bit easier and a bit more understandable.
[quote user="Redbudpt"]Have many of you had to update your current FMLA policies due to the new regulations? [/quote]
I think the policy impact is more widespread than most people will first believe. DOL makes multiple references in the new regulations to employer's policies and how they affect FMLA leave. For example, an employer's call-in policy will affect how FMLA leave is administered, and substitution of paid leave policies dictate how FMLA leave substitution is allowed. Employers have to be pretty specific about how employee notice must be given for FMLA leaves. I think this will have a "creeping" effect on other policies (sick leave, vacation use, notice, etc.)
I was having lunch with a friend of mine on Sunday. He's an employment law attorney who specializes in FMLA.
He says the amendments and commentary print out to over 700 pages.
[quote user="IT HR"]There are some really good changes and then many things they didn't fix.[/quote]
I have heard second hand that the reporting requirements are now significantly more burdensome.