by Bernadette Robinson-Kinzer
The updated Family Medical Leave Act became effective January 16, 2009. University Human Resource Services provided CWA a summary of the most significant changes to IUâ€™s FMLA policy for staff and hourly employees. I use excerpts from that communiquÃ© here to highlight the changes, so support staff will have an understanding of how the changes in the law can affect FMLA leaves from IU. This is a condensed version of the summary, but I believe it will answer most questions. If you require further information or assistance, speak with your steward or contact your campus Human Resources
â€œTwo new qualifying reasons for an FMLA leave have been added to the existing list, both relate to military
â€œAn employee who has a spouse, child, or parent in the Reserves or National Guard who has been called to active duty may be eligible for an FMLA for any of 7 different qualifying â€œexigencies.â€ To qualify, the employee must certify the exigency which must be directly related to the call to duty.â€
â€œThe second new qualifying reason for an FMLA leave is referred to as military caregiver leave. This is FMLA leave to care for a covered service member who has suffered serious injury or illness in the line of active duty. â€
â€œSome of the other changes in the law:
- Clarify what is a â€œserious health conditionâ€ which would qualify a person for an FMLA leave.
- Permit certain individuals to contact an employeeâ€™s health care provider to obtain clarification and/or authentication of the medical certification. At Indiana University, this contact must be made by the campus Human Resources office or a person designated by that office.
- Establish a new requirement that an employee must follow a departmentâ€™s provisions for calling in and for
requesting time off or the FMLA request may be delayed or denied.
- Provide a department with 5 work days rather than 2 to inform the employee if he or she is eligible for FMLA leave and if a medical or exigency certification is required.
- State that if an employee has compensatory time, it must be used as part of the FMLA leave. At IU, it must be used first, before any other paid time-off accruals are used.
- Provide that breaks in employment that exceed 7 years do not have to be counted in determining if an employee meets the 12 months of employment eligibility requirement.â€
IUâ€™s FMLA personnel policy, procedures, and forms have been revised to reflect these changes and are available at the UHRS website http://www.indiana.edu/~uhrs/policies/uwide/fmla.html. I encourage everyone to become acquainted with theupdated FMLA policy.