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Benefits in the News > By Subject >

Family and medical leave, incl. FMLA

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The Risks of Unpaid Leave and the FMLA
"Despite the FMLA's language requiring that an employee 'work' for the employer for at least 12 months, regulations implemented by the [DOL] indicate that an employee must only be 'employed' for 12 months. In other words, if an employee remains on your payroll for 12 months, he may be eligible under the FMLA, regardless of how many months he actively performed work.... Most troubling of all is the fact that unpaid leave extended before the employee becomes FMLA-eligible would not count toward his 12 weeks of FMLA leave. So after taking 8 weeks of unpaid leave, the employee could request an additional 12 weeks of leave before exhausting his protection." (HR Daily Advisor)
[Guidance Overview] Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council Issues Interim Rule Implementing Paid Sick Leave (PDF)
"The Federal Acquisition Regulatory ('FAR') Council has published an interim rule implementing Executive Order 13706, Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors. It applies to solicitations issued by the federal government on or after January 1, 2017, and resultant contracts. For existing contracts, the interim rule directs contracting officers to include the new FAR clause in bilateral modifications extending the contract when such modifications are individually or cumulatively longer than six months.... The companion final rule published by the [DOL] stated the applicability in different terms and with different formatting, but differences in practice are likely to be limited." (Wiley Rein LLP via Pratt's Government Contracting Law Report)
[Guidance Overview] City of Los Angeles Updates Paid Sick Leave Rules and FAQs
"The revised FAQs provide that an employer's business size is based on covered employees, i.e., individuals who perform at least two hours of work in a particular week within the City of Los Angeles and are entitled to the state minimum wage. Also, the revised FAQs specify that employers can use different sick leave methods for different employee classes ... Per the revised FAQs, at the end of each year, employers -- at their discretion -- can pay out accrued but unused sick leave that exceeds the 72-hour overall cap. Finally, relevant revised regulations address frontloading by small employers, calculating an employee's regular rate when sick leave is used, and using existing paid time off benefits to comply with the law." (Littler)
Study Connects the Dots Between Essential Health Care and Paid Sick Leave
"Researchers ... have found that regardless of sociodemographic factors, workers who lack paid sick leave were significantly less likely to have received preventive health care screenings in the last 12 months -- even among those who have been told they have a condition such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease that places them at higher medical risk. Moreover, workers without paid sick leave are 1.6 times less likely to have received a flu shot in the past 12 months[.]" (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)
Americans Widely Support Paid Family and Medical Leave
"Americans largely support paid leave, and most supporters say employers, rather than the federal or state government, should cover the costs. Still, the public is sharply divided over whether the government should require employers to provide this benefit or let employers decide for themselves, and relatively few see expanding paid leave as a top policy priority." (Pew Research Center)
[Guidance Overview] New York State Proposes Regs on New Paid Family Leave Law
"The proposed regulations clarify that both full-time and part-time employees are eligible for paid family leave benefits.... [E]mployees may be eligible for New York paid family leave benefits even if they are not eligible for leave under the federal [FMLA]. Part-time employees are entitled to only a pro-rated percentage of the maximum paid family leave benefit available for full-time employees." (Littler)
Including Employee's FMLA Request as Reason to Fire Her Was Direct Evidence Warranting Trial
"A supervisor's remark that one of the 'several reasons' supporting an employee's termination was that she 'submit[ted] a request for medical leave' constituted direct evidence of FMLA retaliation, as it did more than merely suggest a discriminatory motive but rather was a 'blatant remark.' ... [A] federal court ... ruled that the remark itself precluded summary judgment in the employer's favor ... since the employee's estate only needed to show that retaliation was a 'motivating factor' and not the 'but for' cause of her termination[.]" [Stewart v. Wells Fargo Bank, No. 15-988 (N.D. Ala. Mar. 14, 2017)] (Wolters Kluwer)
The Caregiving Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities for Employers (PDF)
24 pages. "[T]oday more than one in six American workers is a caregiver, a number which will surely increase over time.... Employers face caregiving-related costs resulting from: Absenteeism.... Lost productivity.... Increased healthcare costs.... Recruiting and training new staff costs ... It's been estimated that all these factors combined equal a loss of almost $38 billion each year for employers." (Northeast Business Group on Health [NEBGH])
D.C. Universal Paid Family Leave Bill Submitted to Congress, But Changes Are Still Possible
"[T]he Paid Leave Compensation Act of 2017 (B22-130) would provide the same guarantees for time off but would lower the payroll tax from 0.62% to: [1] 0.20% for large employers, defined as employers 'with 50 or more employees or whose annual payroll equals $3.5 million or more'; and [2] 0.40% for small employers, defined as employers 'with between 5 and 49 employees and whose annual payroll equals less than $3.5 million.' Large employers would be required to administer the benefits on their own, while the D.C. government would run the program for small employers." (Proskauer's Law and the Workplace)
FMLA Liquidated Damages: Double the Trouble
"The employee won on his FMLA interference claim even though he had been selected for termination as part of a reduction-in-force before anyone -- including the employee -- knew that he would require surgery. The evidence showed that the employee was scheduled to be laid off in March as part of a reduction-in-force but when the employer learned in late January that he would need surgery, it accelerated the termination date to early February. The court affirmed the jury's verdict that the employer had wrongfully interfered with the employee's FMLA rights, noting that proof of unlawful intent is not required for an unlawful FMLA interference claim." [Crain v. Schlumberger Technology Co., No. 15-1777 (E.D. La. Feb. 23, 2017)] (Sun Life Financial, Inc. via Lexology)
Employee Denied FMLA Leave for Sick Grandparent Can Go to Jury
"The appeals court faulted MCU's notice of FMLA rights to Coutard, which stated that leave was not available to care for a grandparent. According to FMLA regulations, the employer must advise the employee that he or she need only provide sufficient information to show that the requested leave may be FMLA-qualifying. If such information is provided by the employee and the employer needs additional information, it is the employer's responsibility to request it. The court found that Coutard's notice of his situation was sufficient to inform MCU of his potential entitlement to FMLA leave." [Coutard v. Municipal Credit Union, No. 15-1113 (2d Cir. Feb. 9, 2017)] (Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM])
[Guidance Overview] Proposed Regulations Issued for New York's Paid Family Leave
"[T]he state proposes a system where employees apply directly to the employer's insurance carrier for [paid family leave (PFL)] benefits. The employer merely completes one section of a claim form before it is submitted to the carrier by the employee.... [E]mployers cannot require employees to use accrued paid time off (such as PTO, sick, or personal time) for the requested PFL time ... [T]he regulations do allow PFL and FMLA leave to run concurrently. However, this will hinge on the employer designating the leave as FMLA leave by providing the notice required under the federal FMLA regulations." (Bond, Schoeneck & King)
[Guidance Overview] Employer Discretion Advised: The Latest on San Francisco's Cutting-Edge Parental Leave Ordinance
"While the California Paid Family Leave (PFL) program currently pays employees 55 percent of their wages, up to a certain weekly amount, for a period of six weeks, the [San Francisco Paid Parental Leave Ordinance (PPLO)] requires employers to pay the remaining 45 percent of for six weeks for the purpose of bonding with a new child.... Despite its name, the [PPLO] ... does not provide employees with additional protected leave. Instead, the ordinance is a wage replacement law. Employees must receive state PFL benefits in order to receive PPLO supplemental compensation." (Ogletree Deakins)
The Sad State of Parental Leave
"[O]ver the past 11 years, the number of organizations offering at least some replacement pay for women on maternity leave has increased from 46 percent to 58 percent. But ... among employers offering any replacement pay, the percentage offering full pay has continued to decline, from 17 percent in 2005 to 10 percent in 2016. In fact, of all employers with 50 or more employees, only 6 percent offer full pay. In addition, daily flexibility, the kind needed for emergencies, has gone down actually, from 87 percent in 2012 to 81 percent in 2016[.]" (HRE Daily)
Effectively Managing FMLA Investigations by the DOL
"Neither the FMLA nor its regulations require any specific manner in which records must be maintained to comply with the recordkeeping requirements of the FMLA.... [T]he DOL has the authority to undertake unannounced employer visits. Employers need to have a procedure in place for handling such a situation, including having a designated person who is prepared to respond to investigations at a moment's notice." (HR Daily Advisor)
[Guidance Overview] New York State Publishes Proposed Regs on New Family Leave Law
"Employers will be required to provide written policies, guidance or notifications to employees regarding leave ... Part-time employees will be eligible to receive pro-rata portions of family leave ... An employer's failure to provide paid family leave or to make applicable withholdings will expose the employer to costly penalties.... Employees may be required to submit medical documentation from a health care provider if they take leave because of the serious health condition of a family member." (Fox Rothschild LLP)
FMLA 'Unusual Circumstances' Rule May Excuse Failure to Call in Absence
"Given an employee's unexpected admission to a psychiatric facility and functional impairment, the FMLA's 'unusual circumstances' exception excused her failure to follow the employer's normal call-in procedures for absences, ruled a federal district court in Massachusetts. Also rejecting a manager's argument that she could not be individually liable for FMLA interference, the court found evidence that she had sufficient control over the employee and played a role in the termination by failing to timely disclose what she knew about the employee's absence." [Boadi v. Center for Human Development, Inc., No. 14-30162 (D. Mass. Mar. 6, 2017)] (Wolters Kluwer)
Employee Fired for Threatening Supervisor After Tardiness Write-Up Failed to Revive FMLA Claims
"An employee who was suspended and discharged after threatening a supervisor who gave him a write-up for a tardy that the employee claimed was covered by the FMLA, failed to revive his FMLA interference and retaliation claims. In an unpublished opinion, the Sixth Circuit determined that he failed to show that he was entitled to FMLA leave on the day in question or that the employer's proffered reason for his discharge was pretextual." [Levaine v. Tower Automotive Operations, No. 16-1782 (6th Cir. Feb. 22, 2017; unpub.)] (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)
[Guidance Overview] New Paid Family Leave Benefits for Employees in New York State: What Employers Need to Know
"If an employer's current practice involves paying employees full salary while they are out on family leave, the employer will be entitled to seek reimbursement from the carrier providing PFL benefits in the same manner as if it were seeking reimbursement for workers' compensation benefits.... [T]he cost of the premium for the addition of paid family leave to an employer's disability benefits policy will be covered in total by the employee's contribution." (Jackson Lewis P.C.)
Mastering Tough FMLA Issues: Employees Who Don't Have Restoration Rights
"Employees who cannot perform an essential function of their job aren't entitled to restoration, although they may be entitled to protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act, state leave laws, or a collective bargaining or other agreement.... Key employees, defined as eligible salaried (executive, administrative, professional, and computer) employees who are among the highest-paid 10 percent of all employees within 75 miles of the worksite, are not entitled to reinstatement under the FMLA.... An employee on FMLA leave has no greater right to reinstatement or other terms and conditions of employment than if he hadn't taken leave. But if you deny reinstatement for a reason like a reduction in force, you will have the burden of showing that he wouldn't otherwise have been employed at the time he requested reinstatement." (HR Daily Advisor)
Federal Court Finds FMLA Retaliation When Employer Revokes Telework Arrangement
"The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently determined ... that an employer had retaliated against an employee in violation of the [FMLA] when it revoked her arrangement to work from home two days a week to care for her autistic child. The employer's decision to terminate the arrangement was based on the mistaken belief that FMLA only covers medical appointments and treatment." [Wink v. Miller Compressing Co., Nos. 16-2336, 16-2339 (7th Cir. Jan. 9, 2017)] (The Wagner Law Group)
California Bill Would Expand Kinship for Purposes of Family Leave Eligibility
"California ... family leave is mandated only for the care of parents, children and spouses. A bill, SB-62, seeks to broaden that coverage to include a web of relatives, reflecting the increasing number of Americans living in multigenerational households and the challenges of caring for kin with serious health conditions." (Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM])
Annual Report of ABA Subcommittee on the FMLA: 2016 Court Cases (PDF)
This 312-page report describes, and organizes by topic in detail, over 400 significant FMLA decisions of federal and state courts during 2016. (American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law, Committee on Federal Labor Standards Legislation, Subcommittee on the Family And Medical Leave Act)
[Guidance Overview] New York Proposes Regs on State Paid Family Leave Law
'[All] private employers with at least one employee will be required to provide paid family leave benefits to their employees by purchasing a paid family leave insurance policy or electing to self-insure. The premium for such policies will be fully funded through employee payroll deductions.... The proposed regulations clarify that employees who have been employed by a covered employer full-time for at least 26 weeks or part-time for at least 175 days at the time they apply for benefits will be eligible for these paid family leave benefits." (Ogletree Deakins)
[Guidance Overview] Proposed Regulations Issued for New York State Paid Family Leave Law
"[T]he proposed rule fills in many of the blanks regarding how paid family leave (PFL) will interact with leave otherwise covered under [FMLA]. The FMLA provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for several covered purposes, three of which ... are also covered under [PFL]. Notably, however, while the federal FMLA requires unpaid leave for an employee's own serious medical condition, [New York's PFL] will not apply to such leave (although leave for an employee's own medical condition may be covered under the New York Short Term Disability law)." (Proskauer's Law and the Workplace)
Jury to Decide Whether Police Sergeant's Protest of FMLA Policy Warranted Denial of Promotion
"A police sergeant who was initially denied his request to use his accrued sick leave to care for his wife following childbirth complications due to the employer's erroneous belief that he sought 'paternity' leave, and also was denied his request not to have the leave designated as FMLA leave, avoided summary judgment on his FMLA interference claim. The federal court in Nevada also allowed him to advance his retaliation claim ... because whether his protected activity was carried out in such a manner that it became a legitimate reason for the decision should be decided by a jury[.]" [Browett v. City of Reno, No. 16-181 (D. Nev. Feb. 17, 2017)] (Wolters Kluwer)
Voters in Arizona and Washington State Approve Paid Sick Leave Mandates
"Arizona and Washington have recently joined Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont in mandating statewide paid sick leave, and Montgomery County, Maryland, expanded its existing paid sick leave law. Going in the opposite direction, Ohio banned paid sick leave mandates, and five jurisdictions in Illinois opted out of a county law mandating paid sick leave." (Willis Towers Watson)
Paid Family Leave Is Proposed Again in Congress
"On February 7, Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) reintroduced the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, along with 112 cosponsors in the House and 26 in the Senate (H.R. 947; S. 337).... The bill would create a national paid family and medical leave insurance program aimed at ensuring that American workers would no longer have to choose between a paycheck and caring for a family member." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)
Leave Management Continues to Vex Employers, but Outsourcing and Integrated Systems Help
"Outsourcing of [FMLA] administration continues to increase ... 34 percent of employers with 50 or more employees outsource FMLA leave to a third-party administrator (TPA). 45 percent of employers with 1,000 and more employees do so. 80 percent of employers that also outsource management of short-term disability (STD) and long-term disability (LTD) leave do so through the same TPA that manages FMLA leave on their behalf." (Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM])
Revocation of Telework Arrangement Was FMLA Retaliation, Court Says
"[A] federal appeals court upheld a jury verdict for an employee who had a hybrid FMLA-telework arrangement to care for her son, who has autism. The jury found that the employer had retaliated against her, in violation of the FMLA, when it revoked her work-from-home arrangement and told her (incorrectly) that the FMLA only covers time off for medical appointments and treatment." [Wink v. Miller Compressing Co., Nos. 16-2336, 16-2339 (7th Cir. Jan. 9, 2017)] (HR Daily Advisor)
[Guidance Overview] Mandatory Paid Sick Leave: A New Compliance Requirement for Covered Federal Contractors and Subcontractors
"Covered contractors must provide no fewer than seven days of paid sick leave annually. But not all employees are covered by the Rule -- only those employees who work on 'or in connection with' a contract that is covered by the Rule fall under the sick leave provision." (Pepper Hamilton LLP)
Evidence Employee Was Discouraged from Taking Intermittent Leave, Fired After Doing So, Support Revival of FMLA Claims
"An employer's email to an employee who had just returned from a four-day absence -- while she had a pending FMLA leave request and prior not-yet-approved requests -- stating that her 'continued unpaid time away from the workplace' compromised the quality of care it could provide was 'the clearest example' of discouraging her from taking FMLA leave, the Eleventh Circuit ruled ... Her FMLA retaliation claim was also revived." [Diamond v. Hospice of Florida Keys, Inc., No. 15-15716, (11th Cir. Jan. 27, 2017, unpub.)] (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)
Mastering Tough FMLA Issues: Substitution of Paid Leave
"In order to require employees to substitute paid leave for FMLA leave, you would need to provide notice of that requirement in the Rights and Responsibilities Notice. If you don't provide such notice, then the employee will be allowed to choose whether to use the two types of leave concurrently or consecutively. That could mean: [1] Using up all of their paid leave first, then using their 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave (or 26 weeks of military caregiver leave); [2] Saving their paid leave for other purposes; or [3] Choosing to have their paid leave run concurrently with FMLA leave. These options also need to be explained in the Rights and Responsibilities Notice." (HR Daily Advisor)
Got an Employee Who Doesn't Follow Your FMLA Call-in Policy? Apparently, You Now Have to Ask Him Why He Couldn't
"Even though Johnny failed to comply with the employer's call-in policy, the DOL took the position that his absences were nevertheless FMLA protected simply because he invoked the FMLA when he finally did make contact with the Company. Why is this so? The DOL investigator explained that the DOL reads into the cited regulation above a requirement that the employer must affirmatively ask the employee why he could not follow the employer's call-in procedures. Yet, this so-called obligation can be found nowhere in the FMLA regulations." (FMLA Insights)
[Guidance Overview] D.C. Passes Nation's Most Expansive Paid Family and Medical Leave Law
"[All] private D.C. employers will be required to pay what effectively is a payroll tax by contributing an amount equal to 0.62 percent of the wage of each of their covered employees to a Universal Paid Leave Implementation Fund ('Fund'). Collections for the Fund will begin by July 1, 2019, and employees may begin to receive payment under Universal Paid Leave beginning on July 1, 2020." (Epstein Becker Green)
[Guidance Overview] District of Columbia Mayor Allows Paid Leave Bill to Become Law
"On Feb. 15, 2017, District of Columbia Mayor Bowser returned the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 \to the D.C. Council unsigned, effectively allowing the bill to become law. The Act provides for expanded paid leave protections to private-sector workers in the District.... The Act provides for the following benefits for eligible individuals dealing with particular qualified events: [1] Eight weeks of paid leave to care for a newborn, adopted or fostered child; [2] Six weeks of paid leave to care for family members diagnosed or experiencing a serious health condition; [3] Two weeks of paid leave for an individual diagnosed or experiencing a serious health condition." (RSM US)
Employers Tackle Increasingly Complex Leave Requirements
"A plethora of Federal, state and local leave laws and regulations has made employer compliance and leave administration increasingly complex.... Employers are increasingly relying on outside vendors or licensing software to administer and manage these leaves and attempt to keep up with the ever-changing leave landscape. We're seeing the fastest growth in outsourcing leave administration among small and mid-sized employers." (Mercer/Signal: US Health News)
[Guidance Overview] Proposed FMLA Legislation in the 114th Congress (PDF)
16 pages. "[T]he 114th Congress considered several proposals to amend the [Family and Medical Leave Act] in various ways: [1] Additional leave entitlements.... [2] New FMLA-qualifying uses of the existing leave entitlement.... [3] Broader application of existing FMLA-qualifying uses of leave.... [4] Less-restrictive eligibility requirements, generally, and separate requirements for certain worker groups." [Report R44693, Feb. 9, 2017] (Congressional Research Service)
Employer's Honest Belief Sufficient to Defeat FMLA Retaliation Claim
"As an employee claiming retaliation for using protected FMLA leave must prove that the very exercise of that right was a determinative factor in the employer's decision to take adverse action against her, ... [employers] can now successfully defend against claims simply by showing they believed in good faith that the employee misused what was otherwise protected leave. While the Seventh, Eighth, and Tenth Circuits have reached similar decisions, this was previously an open issue in the Third Circuit." [Capps v. Mondelez Global, LLC, No. 15-3839 (3d Cir. Jan. 30, 2017)] (Greenberg Traurig)
[Guidance Overview] Local and State Developments Impact San Francisco Paid Parental Leave Obligations
"The [San Francisco Paid Parental Leave Ordinance (SF PPLO)] took effect on January 1, 2017 (for employers with 50 or more employees), and the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement has also adopted final rules implementing the SF PPLO, published a required form and poster, and issued supplemental compensation calculation instructions. Additionally, the California Employment Development Department has increased the maximum weekly benefit under the California Paid Family Leave insurance program, which impacts the SF PPLO supplemental compensation amount that must be paid to employees." (Littler)
Employer Must Inquire Further When Employee Seeks FMLA Leave to Care for Ailing Grandparent
"The lower court ruled that the employee's failure to inform the employer that he had an in loco parentis relationship with his grandfather was dispositive. However, after the employee expressly requested leave to care for his grandfather, the employer was obligated to specify any additional information that it needed to determine whether the employee was entitled to such leave, the appeals court held." [Coutard v. Municipal Credit Union, No. 15-1113 (2d Cir. Feb. 9, 2017)] (Wolters Kluwer)
[Opinion] ERIC Comments on Maryland's Proposed Paid Leave Bills
"Rather than impose additional layers of regulation and costly complexity on companies that are already offering generous paid leave to their workforce, legislators should instead exempt employers from additional regulation if they offer more paid leave days/hours than is required by the law. This approach gets to the heart of the concern that workers in the state are not provided a certain amount of paid leave." (The ERISA Industry Committee [ERIC])
Return-to-Work Strategies for Employees with Mental Health Conditions (PDF)
"Compassion and support for employees aside, it is simply good business to protect the mental health and productivity of employees. This article describes existing challenges surrounding employees with mental disorders: the link between mental disorders, disability and an employee's ability to return to work; best practices for employers, employees and health care providers; and the role of the insurance company. Together, using proven strategies, everyone contributes to the optimal solution of helping employees with mental disorders return to work." (Benefits Quarterly, published by the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists [ISCEBS])
[Guidance Overview] Employers Face a Trio of Sick Leave Laws: Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois
"Both the Chicago Ordinance and the Cook County Ordinance become effective on July 1, 2017. Unlike the Ordinances (which require employers to provide paid sick leave), the Illinois Act merely requires employers that already provide sick leave to employees to allow those employees to use at least half of that sick leave to care for their family members (in addition to the employees' own illnesses).... The Illinois Act became effective on January 1, 2017." (Epstein Becker Green)
Facebook Boosts Bereavement Leave
"[Facebook] will now give employees up to 20 days of paid bereavement leave in the event of an immediate family member's death and up to 10 days for the death of an extended family member.... Facebook's generous bereavement policy puts it far ahead of most -- if not all -- U.S. employers. Although 80 percent of U.S. companies have bereavement policies, they offer an average of only four paid days of leave for the death of an immediate family member" (HRE Daily)
Four Changes to Make Now If Your Company Is Covered by the Federal Contractor Sick Leave Order
"Make sure your sick leave policy allows for carryover that meets the final rule's requirements and implement an accrual method if you do not already have one.... Make sure your leave policy provides leave for domestic violence.... If state law allows, do not provide for payout of accrued, but unused sick leave.... Consider whether it makes sense to have a PTO policy that includes sick leave or a separate sick leave policy." (Polsinelli PC)
[Guidance Overview] Washington, D.C., Finalizes Paid-Family-Leave Law
"[The D.C. Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 (UPLAA)] will guarantee certain periods of paid family and medical leave to private-sector employees starting on July 1, 2020. Payments will be funded by an additional 0.62 percent employer payroll tax that the city will collect from private-sector employees starting on July 1, 2019.... Paid leave under the UPLAA ... will be provided for ... Eight weeks within a 52-week period to new parents. Six weeks for the care of a family member with a serious health condition. Two weeks for an employee's own medical leave." (Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM])
[Guidance Overview] Minnesota Legislature Moves Forward to Preempt Municipal Safe and Sick Leave and Wage Ordinances
"The battle over paid sick leave and minimum wage ordinances at the municipal level moved to the Minnesota Legislature as its 2017 ? 2018 session kicked off at the end of January. Several bills introduced in the 2017-2018 session would either establish a statewide standard for paid leaves or preempt and prevent municipalities from passing their own ordinances on these subjects." (Ogletree Deakins)
Survey Results: Total Rewards Programs and Practices
71 pages. "This report presents the results of an August 2016 survey ... to measure the use of total rewards programs in U.S., Canadian and international companies. The survey focused on the prevalence of 176 different total rewards programs and practices in today's workplace. This report is a robust resource for those benchmarking organizational use of total rewards programs and practices.... Data is reported in aggregate with breakdowns by major industry, sector and size, as well as regrettable turnover and self-reported employee engagement survey results." (WorldatWork)
Building on the Family and Medical Leave Act 24 Years Later
"Over the past 24 years, the FMLA has been used more than 100 million times by workers to help manage the dual demands of the work and family. However, in many ways, the law falls short in protecting working Americans and their families.... In contrast, paid leave is available in some capacity to workers in every other advanced economy. A few states have led the way in the United States by developing their own paid leave programs for workers." (National Academy of Social Insurance [NASI])
Building on the Family and Medical Leave Act 24 Years On
"Over the past 24 years, the FMLA has been used more than 100 million times (PDF) by workers to help manage the dual demands of the work and family. However, in many ways, the law falls short in protecting working Americans and their families.... In contrast, paid leave is available in some capacity to workers in every other advanced economy. A few states have led the way in the United States by developing their own paid leave programs for workers." (National Academy of Social Insurance [NASI])
Third Circuit: State University Is Immune from FMLA Suit
"Montclair State University (MSU) is an arm of the state of New Jersey and, as such, is immune from federal suit under the FMLA, the Third Circuit held in ... dismissing a university employee's FMLA suit on Eleventh Amendment immunity grounds.... Left unanswered: whether Congress has abrogated Eleventh Amendment immunity for FMLA claims, or whether New Jersey has waived its Eleventh Amendment immunity from suit in federal court with regard to the employee's state-law claim under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD)." [Maliandi v. Montclair State University, No. 14-3812 (3d Cir. Dec. 27, 2016] (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)
Maternity, Paternity Leave Rates in the U.S. Remain Low
"Laws mandating paid leave in four states and an expanding national economy have had no impact on the proportion of working women who take maternity leave, which remains at about 678 per 10,000 births[.]" (Reuters)
Is Organ Donation Covered under FMLA?
"Although the FMLA does not specifically address voluntary live organ donation, the FMLA regulations do reference voluntary cosmetic surgery and indicate that cosmetic treatments (such as most treatments for acne or plastic surgery) are not serious health conditions qualifying for FMLA leave unless inpatient hospital care is required or complications develop.... [T]he same assumption likely can be made for voluntary organ donations -- if inpatient care will be needed to recover from the donation, then it would be covered by the FMLA." (HR Daily Advisor)
Sixth Circuit Finds Failure to Provide FMLA Notice Constitutes FMLA Interference
"When the employee provided the [fitness-for-duty] certification, the employer realized that the employee had become FMLA-eligible while on leave. In response, the employer returned the employee to his original position and paid him for the time between the provision of the certification and his reinstatement.... The Sixth Circuit determined that the employer did not follow FMLA requirements when it did not provide an FMLA designation notice to the employee to explain that his reinstatement would be contingent on providing the certification." [Casagrande v. OhioHealth Corp., No. 15-3292 (6th Cir. Dec. 20, 2016, unpub.)] (The Wagner Law Group)
Third Circuit: Honest Belief Employee Was Abusing FMLA Leave Defeats Retaliation Claim
"Even assuming an employee made out a prima facie case of FMLA retaliation, his employer was properly granted summary judgment because the evidence showed that it fired him based on an honest belief that the employee, who was arrested for a DUI and had court dates coinciding with his intermittent FMLA dates, was misusing FMLA leave. The Third Circuit also affirmed summary judgment against the employee's FMLA interference claim because there was no evidence he was ever denied benefits to which he was entitled." [Capps v. Mondelez Global, LLC, No. 15-3839 (3d Cir. Jan. 30, 2017)] (Wolters Kluwer)
Four Keys to a Solid Paid Parental Leave Policy
"Decide when it kicks in ... Watch for discrimination traps ... Consider other paid leave ... Use FMLA accordingly." (HR Benefits Alert)
In the Seventh Circuit, Another Wellness Litigation Setback for the EEOC
"The EEOC asserted that the disputed wellness program, which required employees to complete a medical questionnaire and undergo biometric testing as conditions to receiving employer-subsidized health insurance, violated a prohibition on involuntary medical examinations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Without ruling on the case's merits, the Seventh Circuit affirmed a district court decision to dismiss the case." [EEOC v. Flambeau, No. 16-1402 (7th Cir. Jan. 25, 2017)] (Practical Law Company)
[Guidance Overview] State of Illinois Amends New Employee Sick Leave Act
"The Amendment ... [1] Clarifies that step-children and domestic partners ... constitute covered family members for whom an employee can use sick leave benefits.... [2] Limits the scope of the Act to only personal sick leave benefits available to an employee through an employment benefit plan or paid time off policy.... [3] Limits an employer's ability to request written verification of the employee's absence from a health care professional.... [4] Clarifies employers' ability to limit sick time used for family members." (Quarles & Brady LLP)
Disclosing an Employee's Medical Condition May Result in Automatic FMLA Violation
"To the court, the issue was a straightforward one. Under the FMLA, confidentiality of medical information is an employee right, and the allegation here is that the employer violated that right. Therefore, even if the employer granted to Scott all the FMLA leave he was entitled, the court found it possible that the employer still 'materially affected' Scott's working conditions when it allegedly breached confidentiality and other employees mocked Scott for his condition." [Holtrey v. Collier County Bd. of County Commissioners, No. 16-34 (M.D. Fla. Jan. 12, 2017)] (FMLA Insights)

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