Posts Tagged ‘Family Medical Leave Act’

How Does USERRA Interact with FMLA?

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

In today’s post, John Gupton, CAI’s General Counsel and HR Advisor on CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team, shares important information with employers about the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and how it interacts with the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)  

john g editThe Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is a federal law that provides reemployment rights for veterans and members of the National Guard and Reserve following qualifying military service. It also prohibits employer discrimination against any person on the basis of that person’s past USERRA-covered service, current military obligations, or intent to join one of the uniformed services.

USERRA requires that service members who conclude their tours of duty and who are reemployed by their civilian employers receive all benefits of employment that they would have obtained if they had been continuously employed, except those benefits that are considered a form of short-term compensation, such as accrued paid vacation. If a service member had been continuously employed, one such benefit to which he or she might have been entitled is leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The service member’s eligibility will depend upon whether the service member would have met the employee eligibility requirements outlined above had he or she not performed USERRA-covered service.

USERRA requires that a person reemployed under its provisions be given credit for any months of service he or she would have been employed but for the period of absence from work due to or necessitated by USERRA-covered service in determining eligibility for FMLA leave. A person reemployed following USERRA-covered service should be given credit for the period of absence from work due to or necessitated by USERRA-covered service toward the months-of-employment eligibility requirement. Each month served performing USERRA-covered service counts as a month actively employed by the employer. For example, someone who has been employed by an employer for nine months is ordered to active military service for nine months after which he or she is reemployed. Upon reemployment, the person must be considered to have been employed by the employer for more than the required 12 months (nine months actually employed plus nine months of USERRA-covered service) for purposes of FMLA eligibility. It should be noted that the 12 months of employment need not be consecutive to meet this FMLA requirement.

An employee returning from USERRA-covered service must be credited with the hours of service that would have been performed but for the period of absence from work due to or necessitated by USERRA-covered service in determining FMLA eligibility. Accordingly, a person reemployed following USERRA-covered service has the hours that would have been worked for the employer added to any hours actually worked during the previous 12-month period to meet the 1,250 hour requirement. In order to determine the hours that would have been worked during the period of absence from work due to or necessitated by USERRA-covered service, the employee’s pre-service work schedule can generally be used for calculations. For example, an employee who works 40 hours per week for the employer returns to employment following 20 weeks of USERRA-covered service and requests leave under the FMLA. To determine the person’s eligibility, the hours he or she would have worked during the period of USERRA-covered service (20 × 40 = 800 hours) must be added to the hours actually worked during the 12-month period prior to the start of the leave to determine if the 1,250 hour requirement is met.

For more information on USERRA, go to http://j.mp/er-ra.

Revisions to the Family and Medical Leave Act: Everything You Need to Know

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

As the definition of family in America has changed over the years, so have the U.S. Department of Labor’s terms about who qualifies for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The department’s revision on June 22, 2010 to its definition of sons and daughters has extended coverage for certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year to include caretakers of a newborn, newly adopted or ill or injured child.

By caretakers, the revision means more than just parents with biological or legal connections to a child are eligible under the FMLA. Now aunts, uncles, step parents, lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender (LBGT) parents and any others entrusted with care of a child are covered. In essence, any employee who assumes the responsibility of caring for a child receives parental rights to family leave.

While this may appear to be a huge change to employers, your company may not be affected by it. Remember the following fact about the FMLA: Employees are eligible for leave only if they have worked at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months for their employer, and they work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the workplace.

If your company meets these qualifications, it would be a wise step to update all employees about this expanded benefit, so that your staff realizes what is happening and why more workers may now be eligible to take time off. A quick review about the FMLA can prevent confusion for you and your employees on this issue and its impact on your office. Some businesses may not have to go to such measures if they already have extended unpaid leave to non-married and/or nontraditional parents.

Keep in mind as well that this benefit most likely will not result in major upheavals or workload problems for a majority of companies. In today’s economy, most employees are reluctant to take up to three months unpaid leave unless absolutely necessary for their child’s welfare.

There have been other updates to FMLA since it took effect in 1993. CAI will keep you informed of future ones as they occur.

For more details on the FMLA, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

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