The Department of Labor today proposed new regulations of the FMLA that would explain further the military family leave provisions and incorporate some special provisions for airline flight crews. 

The new proposed regulations are in response to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 which amended the FMLA to extend the military caregiver leave entitlement to eligible family members of certain veterans and to extend the qualifying exigency leave entitlement to eligible family members of the Regular Armed Forces. 

You can find the DOL’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking here.   You can download the actual proposal (213 pages) here.   The DOL’s Frequenly Asked Questions (FAQ) are available here.   

What’s changed? According to the DOL, the major provisions include:

  • the extension of military caregiver leave to eligible family members of covered veterans with a serious injury or illness;
  • a flexible, three part definition for serious injury or illness of a veteran;
  • the extension of military caregiver leave to cover serious injuries or illnesses that result from the aggravation during military service of a preexisting condition for both current servicemembers and veterans;
  • the extension of qualifying exigency leave to eligible family members of members of the Regular Armed Forces;
  • inclusion of a foreign deployment requirement for qualifying exigency leave for the deployment of all servicemembers (National Guard, Reserves, Regular Armed Forces);
  • the addition of a special hours of service eligibility requirement for airline flight crew employees; and
  • the addition of specific provisions for calculating the amount of FMLA leave used by airline flight crew employees.

Before employers get too wrapped up in this, understand that these are just proposed regulations.  The DOL is soliciting comments and may make further changes before final release.  Employers who have an interest in the subject can submit their comments to the government’s website here.

Thanks to all the people who joined us for our webinar on the ADA Amendments Act and the proposed implementing regulations.  Our attendance continues to exceed our expectations and we’ll continue with this monthly series every second Wednesday of the month (though note that we’ll be moving the date of the November one in honor of Veterans Day).

For those that couldn’t make it, I’ve attached it below, courtesy of Slideshare. 

There’s about 24 hours to go to sign up for the next free monthly webinar.  It’s set for tomorrow, Wednesday, October 14th at noon.  You can register for it here.

A few weeks ago, the EEOC released new proposed regulations interpreting the ADA Amendments Act. These proposed regulations and the Act have raised questions for employers even well-versed on disability-related issues.  Many want to know:  What disabilities are covered? How should we deal with requests for accommodations in light of the new laws and proposed regulations?

We’ll attempt to answer this and other questions in the webinar and we should have plenty of time to allow for a question-and-answer session from the attendees. 

I’m sometimes asked who this program is for. The simplest answer is that it is suitable for in-house counsel; human resources, and financial and operations personnel.  But really, it’s suitable for anyone else who needs to be up-to-date on this ever-changing area of law.

In this session, we expect to cover:

— The ADA Amendments Act
— The EEOC’s proposed regulations implementing the ADA Amendments Act
— Other state laws that employers in Connecticut should be aware of
— What actions employers should take as a result of these changes

We’ve got one of our largest crowds set for the presentation but have room for a few more people so sign up and see you online tomorrow.

With the EEOC’s release of new proposed regulations interpreting the ADA Amendments Act, many employers have even more questions about this new law. What disabilities are covered? How should we deal with requests for accommodations?

We’ll attempt to answer as many of these frequently asked questions as we can at our monthly webinar set for October 14th at noon.  You can register for it here, free of charge.

This webinar will be presented by me and another Pullman & Comley partner Margaret Sheahan.  It will focus on the key changes that have been made to the Americans with Disabilities Act and how the proposed regulations will impact employers. They will discuss what action steps employers need to take as a result of these changes. The webinar will provide some practical guidance for employers, and there will be time at the end for participants to ask questions related to the amendments.

This program is suitable for in-house counsel; human resources, financial and operations personnel; and anyone else who needs to be up-to-date on this ever-changing area of law.

In this session, we expect to cover:

— The ADA Amendments Act
— The EEOC’s proposed regulations implementing the ADA Amendments Act
— Other state laws that employers in Connecticut should be aware of
— What actions employers should take as a result of these changes
— What the latest legislative proposals in Washington, DC, are that may have a further impact on this area of the law

I offered a sneak peek of the regulations last week and you can download them here.

UPDATED 3/1/09

Earlier this week, I indicated that the EEOC would be releasing new proposed regulations interpreting the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).  [Those new proposed regulations can be found here. (H/T LawMemo)) In the meantime, the EEOC released on its website a very useful document providing "background information" on Title II of GINA which applies to employers. (The EEOC also released the testimony from various witnesses at a hearing on the subject as well.)

It is, in essence, a FAQ for employers on the new Act and the proposed regulations.  It provides answers to questions such as:

  • Who must comply with Title II of GINA? (Private and state and local government employers with 15 or more employees, employment agencies, labor unions, and joint labor-management training programs.)
  • Are entities subject to Title II of GINA required to comply with the law now? (No. Title II of GINA is effective on November 21, 2009.)
  • What is “genetic information?” (Genetic information includes, for example, information about an individual’s genetic tests, genetic tests of a family member, and family medical history. Genetic information does not include information about the sex or age of an individual or the individual’s family members, or information that an individual currently has a disease or disorder. Genetic information also does not include tests for alcohol or drug use.)
  • What practices are prohibited by GINA Title II? (Among other things, the use of genetic information in making decisions related to any terms, conditions, or privileges of employment)
  • Are there any exceptions to the prohibition on use of genetic information? (No. According to the EEOC, "This prohibition is absolute. Covered entities may not use genetic information in making employment decisions under any circumstances.")

For additional background, I would also recommend the GINA website from the Genetics and Public Policy Center of Johns Hopkins University. In fact, one of its members testified before the EEOC earlier this week.  It has summaries available and adds some fresh perspective to this issue.  

UPDATED 3/1/09

The EEOC released proposed regulations regarding the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act on February 25, 2009.  The Washington Labor & Employment Wire (H/T) received and advance copy; the regulations are expected to be published later on Thursday or Friday and the 60-day comment period will begin then. (UPDATED: The text of the proposed regulations can be found here.)

With all the new employment laws, GINA might have been overlooked; it was passed last year and it:

* prohibits discrimination based on genetic information in hiring, firing, compensation and other employment decisions;
* prohibits employers from collecting genetic information through workplace genetic testing or other means, with very narrow exceptions (e.g., monitoring the effects of hazardous workplace exposures);
* prohibits health insurers and plans from requiring genetic testing and from discriminating based on genetic information in enrollment and premium-setting; and
* imposes strict workplace confidentiality/disclosure rules on all genetic information.

The Wire’s early take on the regulations is that they clarify some terms and provide some guidance on GINA’s six exceptions to the general provisions that employers are prohibited from acquiring genetic information from employees:

The proposed regulations provide additional guidance regarding some of the terms used in the Act. For example, the regulations define “employee” to cover not just current employees, but also applicants and former employees. The proposed rule also clarifies that drug and alcohol tests are not “genetic tests,” and invites comments on the scope of the term “genetic test,” specifically, “how the term should be applied, whether the proposed regulation should be more or less expansive, and whether it or the preamble should provide examples of what should be included or excluded.”

Employers in Connecticut should be wary about just following GINA however. Connecticut has long had a separate state law on the subject in Conn. Gen. Stat. 46a-60(a)(11).

In any event, the proposed regulations should be available from the government website shortly. Expect to hear more in the upcoming days about these proposed regulations.