When you need time off
Labor lawyer Mark Zelek at Morgan Lewis& Bockius in Miami, explains the proposed changes to FMLA made by the U.S. Department of Labor on Feb. 11. Labor officials say the regulations, which they want to implement by the end of the year, would make the law more user friendly for companies and employees.
What the changes mean to you depends on whether you’re an employer or an employee.
- Workers taking time off (intermittently or irregularly) for a chronic medical condition for the first time will be required to treat an FMLA absence like any other absence from work. In non-emergency situations, advance notice will be required using the company’s normal call-in policies.
- Workers who want time off for serious health conditions will need two visits to a health care provider within a month of the condition's onset. Employers will be able to contact medical providers directly to get clarifications and to check the authenticity of the employee’s documentation.
- Workers with illnesses lasting an unknown period will have to get medical certification of their condition every year.
- Employers will not be able to charge FMLA time to employees who come back to work but can only do "light" duty.
- The Labor Dept. must quickly put into effect a new law granting as much as 26 weeks of FMLA leave to care for an injured or ill military member.
Do you think these changes are in your best interest? If you want to give your comments, you have until April 11. The Labor Department hopes to issue final regulations by the end of the year. Submit comments by clicking here.
Democratic congressional leaders oppose regulatory changes to the employee leave law, but it’s not clear whether they will try to block them. To read more, click here.