FMLA expanded to provide leave to the families of U.S. military service personnel

In January, 2008, President Bush signed legislation that expands the leave available to family members of U.S. military service personnel under the FMLA.  The amendments, which went into effect on January 28, 2008, are the first amendments to the FMLA since its enactment in 1993. 

Under the amendments, covered employers (i.e. those with 50 or more employees) are required to provide up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period to eligible employees who are caring for a "covered servicemember" who is injured in the line of duty.  In addition, the amendments require covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave to the immediate family members (spouses, children, or parents) of military personnel or reservists who have "any qualifying exigency" arising out of the servicemember's active duty or call to active duty in support of a contingency operation.  The Secretary of Labor will be issuing regulations defining "any qualifying exigency." 

For more information concerning the amendments to the FMLA, and who is eligible for this type of FMLA leave, please click here.

FMLA Leave for flight attendants and pilots?

On May 14, 2008, the House Education and Labor Committee unanimously approved the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act (H.R. 2744), which clarifies that full-time flight attendants and pilots are covered under the FMLA.  The bill would close a loophole that effectively excludes more than 200,000 flight attendants and pilots from coverage under the FMLA.

Because the flight schedules for most full-time attendants and pilots are calculated only according to their "in-flight" time, a full-time schedule for a flight attendant or pilot is almost always less than the 1,250 hours needed to qualify for leave under the FMLA.  Under H.R. 2744, a flight attendant or pilot will be eligible for leave under the FMLA if he or she has been paid for or has worked 60% of the employer's monthly hour or trip guarantee, or the equivalent annualized over the preceding 12-month period.

To read the Bill, please click here.

Governor Corzine signs New Jersey Paid Family Leave legislation into law

On May 2, 2008, Governor Corzine of New Jersey signed into law Paid Family Leave legislation.  The New Jersey Paid Family Leave legislation provides up to six weeks (or 42 days if the leave is "intermittent") of benefits -- at the same level as those provided under New Jersey's Temporary Disability Benefits Law -- to an employee who takes leave to provide care certified to be necessary for a family member of the employee suffering from a serious health condition, or to care for a child during the first 12 months after the child's birth or the child's placement for adoption with the employee's family.  

New Jersey Paid Family Leave runs concurrently with leave provided under both the New Jersey Family Leave Act, as applicable, and the Family and Medical Leave Act. 

Click here for additional information regarding how New Jersey Paid Family Leave works, and who is covered under the legislation.