NEW YORK NURSE: May 2009
What are the newest provisions for the Family Medical Leave Act?
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 is a federal law that allows workers to take up to 12 weeks’ leave during a 12-month period for medical reasons: if they’ve given birth, adopted a child or are caring for a child, spouse, or parent with a serious health condition.
Several changes to the FMLA took effect in January 2009:
Another new provision prohibits direct supervisors from getting an employee’s medical information when an FMLA certification is needed, in order to protect the employee’s privacy.
For military families, the new regulations clarify how to implement the expanded 26 weeks of unpaid FMLA caregiver leave for relatives of seriously injured or ill service members.
“Next of kin” can now include grandparents, aunts, uncles, first cousins, or any relative designated by the service member. The 26 weeks can be taken over a 12-month period, with the clock starting to run on the first day of the leave.
This military caregiver leave may be taken only once per injury, but more than one family member may qualify for it, and each relative may take leave again if there are other injuries. The leave is available only while the service member remains in the military.
The FMLA also now allows relatives of those who are called to active duty in the National Guard and Reserves — but not regular active-duty military members — to take up to 12 weeks of leave for several qualifying “exigencies,” including:
The NYSNA EGW Program receives many inquiries each month from members who have problems in their workplaces. If you have a question about labor relations at your facility, contact your NYSNA nursing representative. If you have a question you think should be featured in this column, send it to: RNs at Work, NYSNA, 120 Wall Street, 23rd Floor, New York, N.Y. 10005.