Too often, important changes to employment law policies go into effect with little to no publicity. New York State employers and employees alike need to know what their rights and responsibilities are at all times so they can respond appropriately to work-related issues as they arise. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) received some long-overdue attention recently, as current policies were reevaluated and reinterpreted to better meet the needs of employees all across the country. Listed below are updates that workers and employers should keep in from now on.
Fortunately for eligible employees everywhere, the most recent alterations to the FMLA increase eligibility and coverage for many workers. The Department of Labor expanded the program by addressing to major issues: military-related leave and family illness.
Serving the military family
For employees that need to take time off of work to care for and/or otherwise assist a service member, the FMLA now grants more protection than ever. For one thing, an individual with a preexisting illness or injury exacerbated by military service is now recognized as a current service member under the bill. The amount of time a worker can request off to spend with a recuperating service member has tripled to 15 days. Furthermore, a Regular Armed Forces member deploying internationally now qualifies for exigency leave. And employees can now also request leave to care for veterans who served in the last five years.
Serving the grown family
Guidelines set by the FMLA regarding a child's disability were once vague. Now though, the official understanding is that a child's disability may arise at any age. That means that employees can request leave to care for adult children with serious health conditions.
Source: post-gazette.com, "Business Workshop: FMLA continues to expand," Elaina Smiley, July 29, 2013