FMLA adds news protection for military veterans and flight crews

February 5, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Posted in Employee, Employer, Employment Law, FMLA, Health Care, New employment laws/amendments | Leave a comment
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Today, February 5, 2013, is the 20th anniversary of President Clinton’s signing into law the Family Medical Leave Act.  It is only fitting that today is also the day new regulations extending the protections under the Act are released.

The FMLA was amended in 2008 in 2010 to provide additional protection for employees with family members serving in the Armed Forces, National Guard and Reserves.  These amendments not only protected the service member, but the family who had to act quickly to ensure a speedy departure for that individual.  The FMLA was also amended to include a special eligibility provision for airline flight crew employees.

The expansion of the military regulations provides families of eligible veterans with the same job-protected FMLA leave currently available to families of military service members, and it also enables more military families to take leave for activities that arise when a service member is deployed. The second expansion modifies existing rules so that airline personnel and flight crews are better able to make use of the FMLA’s protections.

The acting Secretary of Labor, Seth D. Harris issued the following quote today about the new regulations:

“Enabling our military families to care for their loved ones without fear of losing their job and to actively participate in deployment, reunification and recovery reflects our deeper understanding of the role family members have in sustaining an all-volunteer force. Today’s rule makes clear this administration’s strong, ongoing commitment to respond to the needs and sacrifices of our military families. The rule also helps ensure that pilots and flight crews will no longer need to choose between career and caring for a loved one.”

The rule, being expanded today, implemented congressional amendments to the FMLA permitting eligible workers to take up to 26 workweeks of leave to care for a current service member with a serious injury or illness. Exigency leave is also permitted, allowing eligible employees to take up to 12 workweeks of leave for qualifying exigencies arising out of active duty or call to active duty in support of a contingency operation of a family member serving in the National Guard or Reserve. As stated on the Department of Labor’s website:  “This means that workers can attend a spouse’s farewell and welcome home ceremonies without being penalized at work. They also can spend time with family members on leave from active duty service without risking their jobs.”

For more information, including the rule, a military leave guide, fact sheets and other materials, visit http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/2013rule.

A debt of gratitude is owed to the people who protect us; this amendment provides a small way for employers to say “Thank You” to those individuals, and their families, for their service.

The above is not legal advice nor is this posting the creation of an attorney client relationship between the Sensenig Law Firm and the reader.

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Directly from the Department of Labor’s website: Obama administration moves forward to implement health care law, ban discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions

November 27, 2012 at 1:28 am | Posted in Employee, Employer, Employment Law, Health Care, New employment laws/amendments | Leave a comment
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The information below is taken verbatim from the Department of Labor’s website: 

Release Number: 12-2311-NAT

Obama administration moves forward to implement health care law, ban discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration moved forward today to implement provisions in the health care law that would make it illegal for insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. The provisions of the Affordable Care Act also would make it easier for consumers to compare health plans, and employers to promote and encourage employee wellness.

“The Affordable Care Act is building a health insurance market that works for consumers,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Thanks to the health care law, no one will be discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition.”

“The Affordable Care Act recognizes that well-run, equitable workplace wellness programs allow workers to access services that can help them and their families lead healthier lives,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Employers, too, can benefit from reduced costs associated with a healthier workforce.”

The Obama administration issued:

  • A proposed rule that, beginning in 2014, prohibits health insurance companies from discriminating against individuals because of a pre-existing or chronic condition. Under the rule, insurance companies would be allowed to vary premiums within limits, only based on age, tobacco use, family size and geography. Health insurance companies would be prohibited from denying coverage to any American because of a pre-existing condition or from charging higher premiums to certain enrollees because of their current or past health problems, gender, occupation, and small employer size or industry. The rule would ensure that people for whom coverage would otherwise be unaffordable and young adults have access to a catastrophic coverage plan in the individual market. For more information regarding this rule, visit
    http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2012/11/market-reforms11202012a.html.
  • A proposed rule outlining policies and standards for coverage of essential health benefits, while giving states more flexibility to implement the Affordable Care Act. Essential health benefits are a core set of benefits that would give consumers a consistent way to compare health plans in the individual and small group markets. A companion letter on the flexibility in implementing the essential health benefits in Medicaid was also sent to states. For more information regarding this rule, visit
    http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2012/11/ehb11202012a.html.
  • A proposed rule implementing and expanding employment-based wellness programs to promote health and help control health care spending, while ensuring that individuals are protected from unfair underwriting practices that could otherwise reduce benefits based on health status. For more information regarding this rule, visit
    http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2012/11/wellness11202012a.html

http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/ebsa/EBSA20122311.htm#.ULQVdxgmyRs

 

Employers need to become informed as to their responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act as employees will have questions and penalties will be assessed against eligible employers who fail to comply with the law.

 

 

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