FMLA - Revised

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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 IU’s FMLA policy for staff and hourly employees. I use excerpts from that communiqué 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
office.

“Two new qualifying reasons for an FMLA leave have been added to the existing list, both relate to military
service.”

“An 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 “exigencies.” To qualify, the employee must certify the exigency which must be directly related to the call to duty.”

“The 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. ”
“Some of the other changes in the law:

  • Clarify what is a “serious health condition” which would qualify a person for an FMLA leave.
  • Permit certain individuals to contact an employee’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 department’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.”

IU’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.