The final rule took effect on March 8, 2013. How prepared is your financial institution? Get up to speed quickly with this overview of what’s new by AffirmX’s Jane Pannier.

The Family Medical Leave Act was amended by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. This final rule issued recently by the Department of Labor incorporates those amendments. While some of the amendments have no bearing on credit unions, there are several key changes of which credit union management should be aware.  The Family Leave Act applies to credit unions with 50 or more employees.

Qualifying Exigencies

The final rule expands the qualifying exigency leave to include eligible employees with family members serving in the Regular Armed Forces. Previously, qualified exigency leave only applied to eligible employees with family members in the National Guard and Reserve components. In both cases now, the qualifying exigency leave is only available if the service member is deployed to a foreign country under a call or order to active duty.

Rest and Recuperation Leave

The final rule increases the length of time an eligible family member may take for qualifying exigency leave for the reason of Rest and Recuperation from five days to a maximum of 15 days and creates a new qualifying category for parental care.

Serious Injury or Illness

For military caregiver leave purposes, the definition of a serious injury or illness has been expanded to include an illness or injury that was incurred by the service member in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces.  The expanded definition also includes an injury or illness that existed prior to service and was aggravated in the line of duty on active duty and that renders the service member medically unfit. Family members can now also take military caregiver leave to care for a veteran with a serious injury or illness who is receiving medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, if the veteran was a member of the Armed Forces at any time during the period of five years preceding the date of the medical treatment, recuperation or therapy.  A covered veteran is an individual who was discharged or released under conditions other than a dishonorable discharge at any time during the five-year period prior to the first date the eligible employee takes FMLA leave to care for the covered veteran.

Expanded List of Health Care Providers

Lastly, the final rule expands the list of authorized health care providers to include authorized health care providers as defined in section 825.125. The final rule permits an employer to request second and third opinions for medical certifications received from a health care provider who is not affiliated with the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the TRICARE network.