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New FMLA Requirements Are Now In Effect

As of January 16, 2009, employers will be required to comply with the United States Department of Labor's new Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") regulations that concern employees who are related to military personnel and create new employee notification obligations. Among numerous changes, the revised regulations implement two new forms of leave for employees in the military.

Military Caregiver Leave which provides medical-oriented leave for employees caring for family members with serious injuries or illnesses incurred in military duty and
Qualifying Exigency Leave which provides leave for various, non-medical obligations that arise out of a spouse, son, daughter, or parent being on active duty or on call to active duty status.

The new FMLA regulations also require employers to provide several new forms of notice regarding FMLA rights and obligations.

A new "General Notice" must be provided to employees as part of an employee handbook or through documentation issued upon hiring.

Upon five days of either a request for leave or learning that a leave may qualify under the FMLA, an employer must issue a personalized "Eligibility Notice" that addresses whether the employee meets the statutory requirements of the FMLA.

Upon five days of either a request for leave or learning that a leave may qualify under the FMLA, an employer must issue a "Rights and Responsibilities Notice" that sets forth various facts relevant to the employee's leave.

Five days after receiving sufficient information to determine whether the need for leave is FMLA qualifying, employers are required to issue a written "Designation Notice."

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