US DOL Proposing New FMLA Regulations

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a notice of proposed regulations regarding a couple of FMLA issues.  The draft regulations implement recent modifications to the FMLA contained in the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act.

There will be changes to military servicemember leave. There also will be new rules for certain airline employees, who would otherwise be ineligible for leave.  According to the DOL, the proposed
regulations cover 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 servicemembers 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;
  • inclusion of a foreign deployment requirement for qualifying exigency leave for the deployment of all servicemembers (National Guard, Reserves, Regular Armed Forces);
  • 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 DOL has created a web page containing links to the proposal, fact sheets, and more here.

Employers may comment on the draft regulations before April 16, 2012.  For details on how to comment, see the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking here.  Instructions regarding comments are at the beginning of this document.