HR Compliance

3 Ways FMLA May Change Drastically

By

Zachary Gregory

| Oct 8, 2018

Tired of your employees sneaking out early to watch their son’s after-school football scrimmage? Wondering how as an engaging manager you could possibly let your employees fit in a nursing home visit that doesn’t overlap with your team outing? Worried about how you’ll be able to allow your star employee to care for the uncle who raised them once his cancer comes out of remission?

Currently, these situations – and others like them – are ineligible for coverage under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). However, a proposed update to the act could expand such employee leave significantly. While the change could be meaningful for your employees, it also could create additional challenges in forming a compliant policy. Take a look at what could change.

The Family Medical Leave Modernization Act

FMLA could see a change in its landscape thanks to a single letter. On June 13, Congress introduced H.R. 6098, known as the Family Medical Leave Modernization Act (FMLMA). The legislation has been referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce.

If passed, this act will require a change to many employer’s internal policies. It alters the definition of eligible employees, expands the type of people who can be cared for and provides brief monthly time off for certain activities.

1. Increased employee eligibility

One of the more important changes in FMLMA is its expanding of the eligible employee definition. Currently, an otherwise eligible employee may be excluded from qualified leave based on his or her worksite.

For example, if a worker is employed at a worksite at which their company employs less than 50 people, and the total number of workers within 75 miles is still less than 50, the worker is ineligible for FMLA. If the proposed legislation passes, the requirement will be reduced from 50 to 15, increasing the number of workers eligible for leave.

2. Care for additional family members

H.R. 6098 adds eight individuals to the list of family members employees can take leave to care for:

  • domestic partner
  • grandchild
  • grandparent
  • son- or daughter-in-law
  • aunt or uncle
  • any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association is the equivalent of a family relationship

This last relationship, while important, could prove tricky for employer policies. It includes any person the employee shares a significant personal bond or family relationship, regardless of a biological or legal relationship.

3. Monthly four-hour leave for parental involvement and family reasons

Under H.R. 6098, an eligible employee is entitled to up to four hours of leave during any 30-day period, which will not exceed 24 hours of leave within a 12-month period.

This type of leave is in addition to the main family and medical leave. However, employees can be required to substitute any accrued paid vacation, personal or family leave.

This block of time may be used by eligible personnel to participate or attend an activity sponsored by or related to a school or community organization attended by the employee’s child or grandchild.

Employees also would be allowed to take leave for routine medical care for themselves, a child, grandchild or spouse and can attend to the needs of elderly relatives, including visits to nursing homes and group homes.

Watch for updates on H.R. 6098. Its impact will be significant for future leave policies. To keep pace with this and other workplace trends that could affect your business, subscribe to the Paycom blog by clicking the blue subscribe button in the top right corner of your screen.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

About the Author

Zachary Gregory

As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Zach Gregory monitors legal and regulatory changes at the state and federal levels, focusing on payroll and garnishment laws, to ensure the Paycom system is updated accordingly. He previously worked at a law firm as a tax attorney. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Christian University and a J.D. from Oklahoma City University. Outside of work, Gregory enjoys playing in the backyard with his two boys, and finding new restaurants with his wife and high school sweetheart, Kellyn.

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