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Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Forms
Posted on December 20, 2016 by Andrea Shindlebower in Salary and Benefits, FMLA, FSLA

Weekly HR News – FMLA

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Forms

FMLA forms are required for notifying employees of their rights and responsibilities, certification of leave based on the specific request and designating FMLA leave by the employer.  The forms that must be used are located on the Department of Labor (DOL) web page.

For easier reference, here are the links to the current FMLA forms:

In addition to the DOL required forms listed above, many employers have their own additional forms that deal with the employee’s request for FMLA, medical updates and return to work.   

All FMLA forms and information about an employee’s FMLA leave and condition must be kept confidential and separate from other employee files. It is an FMLA violation for an employer to share information about an employee’s FMLA leave with other employees.

For additional questions regarding FMLA or other personnel related matters, contact Personnel Services Specialist, Andrea Shindlebower Main.

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Salary and Benefits while on FMLA
Posted on December 7, 2016 by Andrea Shindlebower in Salary and Benefits, FMLA, FSLA

Weekly HR News – FMLA

Salary and Benefits while on FMLA

In many cases, cities choose to provide unpaid leave while an employee is on FMLA, but may require that an employee use accrued paid leave (i.e. vacation or sick leave) during FMLA leave.  However the city decides to handle, the information must be included within the employee handbook. 

While on FMLA the employer must maintain the employee’s group health insurance at the same level they would if the employee were not on FMLA.  For example, if the employer pays 100% of the employee plan, the employer would continue to do this during leave.  If the employee pays a portion of their health insurance premium, the employee must continue to pay their portion while on leave.  The employer has the option to pay the entire amount during the employee’s absence and recover the employee’s portion when the employee returns to work.  The same is true, if the employer pays 100% of the family plan, the employer would continue to pay 100% of the family plan while the employee is on leave.  (29 C.F.R. § 825.209)

If the employee is responsible for any portion of their premium and fails to pay while out on leave, the employer’s obligation to maintain health insurance will cease once the premium is more than 30 days late.  However, once the employee is reinstated to work they must be restored to the coverage they would have had if leave had not been taken and the payments had not been missed. 

Other benefits provided by the employer, such as holiday pay, seniority and paid leave, are maintained as outlined in the employee handbook.  If not specified under FMLA in the handbook, they will or will not accrue depending on how other types of unpaid leave are handled.  For other benefits, such as elected life insurance coverage, the employer and the employee may make arrangements to continue these benefits during periods of unpaid FMLA leave. As with the group health insurance, an employer may elect to continue such benefits to ensure that the employee will be eligible to be restored to the same benefits upon returning to work. At the conclusion of the leave, the employer may recover only the employee's share of premiums it paid to maintain other "non-health" benefits during unpaid FMLA leave.

For additional questions regarding FMLA or other personnel related matters, contact Andrea Shindlebower Main, personnel services specialist.    

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New FLSA Overtime Rule ON HOLD
Posted on November 28, 2016 by Andrea Shindlebower in Salary and Benefits, FMLA, FSLA

New FLSA Overtime Rule on Hold

On Tuesday, November 22, 2016, a federal judge in Texas issued an injunction regarding the new overtime law that was to take effect December 1, 2016, putting on hold the FLSA overtime changes employers across the country have spent the last few months preparing for.

If upheld, the final rule would increase the salary threshold for exempt employees to more than double at $47,476 and would require employers to pay overtime to any employee who is under that threshold, no matter their job duties.  This injunction will put implementation of the changes within the final rule on hold while the courts determine whether or not the Department of Labor (DOL) has the authority to make such a final rule, as well as the validity of the final rule itself.

What does this mean for employers right now?  Employers will not need to reclassify employees on December 1st as nonexempt (hourly) as long as the employee is currently making more than $23, 660 and falls within the current DOL exemptions.  How long it will take for the court to review is anyone’s guess, so remain vigilant for any changes that may be coming down the pike.  KLC will continue to monitor this situation and update you as soon as information is released. 

If you have any questions on this new development contact Andrea Shindlebower Main, personnel services specialist at 859-977-3785 or ashindlebower@klc.org

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Intermittent Leave under the FMLA
Posted on October 18, 2016 by Andrea Shindlebower in Salary and Benefits, FMLA, FSLA

Weekly HR News – FMLA

Intermittent Leave under the FMLA

Employees that are entitled to FMLA must be given 12 to 26 weeks of leave depending on the qualifying event as discussed in the previous articles.    What if the employee needs intermittent time off for a qualifying event?  For example, the employee can work but needs time off for physical therapy or for doctor appointments; or if the employee or their covered family member has only been released to return to work for partial work days or work weeks. 

For these type scenarios, the employee will be entitled to intermittent leave.  Intermittent leave is FMLA leave that will be taken in separate blocks of time due to a single qualifying reason (29 C.F.R. § 825.202).  Intermittent leave is only required to be given by an employer if:

  • Medically necessary due to the serious health condition of a covered family member or the employee;
  • Medically necessary due to the serious injury or illness of a covered service member; or
  • Necessary because of a qualifying exigency.

While employees are entitled to FMLA for the birth of a child, in order to take intermittent leave during this time, the employer must have a policy in place that allows it.  The only exception to this is when the employee has a pregnancy-related illness.  In that case, the employee would be allowed to take leave intermittently based on the serious health condition requirement.

When taking intermittent leave, the employee must try to schedule the leave in a way that will be least disruptive to city operations.  If necessary, the employer may even transfer an employee to an equivalent alternative position, as long as that position offers the same pay and benefits. (29 C.F.R. § 825.204)

For additional questions regarding FMLA or other personnel related matters, contact Andrea Shindlebower Main, personnel services specialist.    

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What types of events qualify for leave under the FMLA? Part 2 of 2
Posted on October 3, 2016 by Andrea Shindlebower in Salary and Benefits, FMLA, FSLA

Weekly HR News – FMLA

What types of events qualify for leave under the FMLA?  Part 2 of 2

Last week the article focused on the first three events that qualify for FMLA, which are birth or adoption of a child, care of an immediate family member with a serious health condition and recovery of series health condition by the employee.  This week we will look at the final two qualifications for leave in regards to military exigencies and care of an injured service member. 

  • The first is up to twelve (12) weeks of leave for qualifying exigencies arising out of a covered family member's active military duty.  There are eight (8) qualifying exigencies which are listed below:

(1)        Short-notice deployment, which refers to leave to address any issue that arises from the fact that a covered military member is notified of an impending call or order to active duty in support of a contingency operation seven (7) calendar days or less prior to the date of deployment. Leave for this purpose can be used for up to seven (7) calendar days beginning on the date the covered military member is notified of the impending call or order to active duty.

(2)        Military events and related activities which refers to leave to attend any official military ceremony, program, or event related to the active duty or call to active duty status or to attend certain family support or assistance programs and informational briefings.

(3)        Childcare and school activities which refers to leave to arrange for alternative childcare under certain circumstances; to provide childcare on an urgent, immediate need basis; to enroll in or transfer to a new school or daycare facility when necessary; or to attend meetings with staff at a school or daycare facility when necessary.

(4)        Financial and legal arrangements which refers to leave to make or update various financial or legal arrangements; or to act as the covered military member's representative before a federal, state, or local agency in connection with military service benefits.

(5)        Counseling which refers to leave to attend counseling (by someone other than a healthcare provider) for the employee, for the covered military member, or for a child or dependent when necessary as a result of the active duty or call to active duty status.

(6)        Rest and recuperation refers to leave to spend time with a covered military member who is on short-term, temporary, rest-and-recuperation leave during the period of deployment. Eligible employees may take up to five (5) days of leave for each instance of rest and recuperation.

(7)        Post-deployment activities refers to leave to attend arrival ceremonies, reintegration briefings and events, and any other official ceremony or program sponsored by the military for a period of 90 days following the termination of the covered military member's active duty status. This also refers to leave to address issues that arise from the death of a covered military member while on active duty status.

(8)        Additional activities refers to leave to address other events arising from the military duty provided that the employer and employee agree that such leave shall qualify as an exigency and agree to the timing and duration of such leave.

  • Up to twenty-six (26) weeks of leave in a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member recovering from a serious illness or injury.  Eligible employees are entitled to a combined total of up to 26 weeks of all types of FMLA leave. This gives an employee up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a member of the employee's family who was injured while in military service.  An eligible employee must be the spouse, child, parent or "next of kin" to "a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness." 
    • Next of kin of a covered service member means the nearest blood relative other than the covered service member's spouse, parent, son, or daughter, in the following order of priority: blood relatives who have been granted legal custody of the covered service member by court decree or statutory provisions, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and first cousins, unless the covered service member has specifically designated in writing another blood relative as his or her nearest blood relative for purposes of military caregiver leave under the FMLA. When no such designation is made, and there are multiple family members with the same level of relationship to the covered service member, all such family members shall be considered the covered service member's next of kin and may take FMLA leave to provide care to the covered service member, either consecutively or simultaneously. When such designation has been made, the designated individual shall be deemed to be the covered service member's only next of kin. 
    • "Serious injury or illness" is defined as "an injury or illness incurred by the member in line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces that may render the member medically unfit to perform the duties of the member's office, grade, rank, or rating." 

The 26 weeks of leave available under this new provision are not in addition to the previous 12 weeks of leave under the FMLA.  An employee that uses 12 weeks of FMLA leave for another reason in one 12-month period would then only have 14 weeks of leave to care for an injured service member.   For purposes of calculating leave entitlement, the regulation provides that the single twelve month period "begins on the first day the eligible employee takes FMLA leave to care for the covered service member" regardless of the method used by the employer to determine the employee's twelve workweeks of leave entitlement for other FMLA qualifying reasons.

For additional questions regarding FMLA or other personnel related matters, contact Andrea Shindlebower, Personnel Services Specialist.    

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What types of events qualify for leave under the FMLA? Part 1 of 2
Posted on September 21, 2016 by Andrea Shindlebower in Salary and Benefits, FMLA, FSLA

Weekly HR News – FMLA

What types of events qualify for leave under the FMLA? Part 1 of 2

Last week we looked at what is FMLA and does it apply to your city.  If FMLA does apply to your city you need to understand the five events that will qualify an employee for this type of leave.  For this article I am going to focus on the three that are not military related and next week we will look at the final two. The first three qualifying events are:

  • The birth or adoption of a child.  This applies to both male and female employees as long as the child is under the age of 18 or is incapable of self-care because of a disability.  The entitlement to leave expires twelve (12) months from the date of birth or placement of the child. However, if both parents work for the same employer, they must split the twelve (12) week allotment between them.
  • The care of an immediate family member with a "serious health condition."  Family members include a child, spouse or parent.  The term "child" can include someone other than the employee's offspring if the employee stands in the place of a parent. Likewise, "parent" includes any person who stood in the place of a parent to the employee when the employee was a child.  Finally, in 2015, the Department of Labor broadened the definition of spouse under the FMLA so that eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages are able to care for their spouse regardless of where they live. More information can be found on this in the previous article entitled Changes to FMLA Effective March 27 Regarding Definition of Spouse
  • Recovery from an employee's own "serious health condition."  The employee must be unable to perform the essential functions of the job. 
    • The term "serious health condition" for purposes of FMLA is defined as any period of incapacity that involves:
      • Inpatient care; or one night in hospital;
      • Three (3) or more absences coupled with two (2) or more visits to a healthcare provider that occur within thirty (30) days of the beginning of the period of incapacity and the first visit to the healthcare provider takes place within seven (7) days of the first day of incapacity; or more than three (3) consecutive, full calendar days of incapacity plus a "regimen of continuing treatment." The new regulations clarify here also that the first visit to the healthcare provider must take place within seven (7) days of the first day of incapacity. (Example of regimen of continuing treatment would be physical therapy);
      • Pregnancy or prenatal care;
      • Chronic serious health condition requiring periodic visits (at least two (2) visits per year) to a healthcare provider;
      • A condition requiring permanent or long-term incapacity which may not be responsive to treatment and requires continued supervision of a healthcare provider; or
      • Receiving or recovering from multiple treatments for restorative surgery after an injury or for a condition likely to result in more than three (3) days incapacity without such treatments.

For additional questions regarding FMLA or other personnel related matters, contact Andrea Shindlebower, Personnel Services Specialist.    

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