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U.S. Department of Labor Announces Proposed Rulemaking to Implement Statutory Amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act

February 9, 2012

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis along with First Lady Michelle Obama announced on Monday, January 30, 2012 that the Department of Labor is issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to implement statutory amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that would expand military family leave provisions and incorporate a special eligibility provision for airline flight crew employees. This NPRM would interpret and implement the most recent statutory amendments to the FMLA.

Two acts, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 and the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act, have made significant amendments to the FMLA.  The NPRM addresses those amendments.

Some of the major provisions in the NPRM are:

  • The extension of military caregiver leave to eligible family members of recent veterans with a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty;
  • A flexible, three-part definition for serious injury or illness of a veteran;
  • The extension of military caregiver leave to cover serious injuries or illnesses for both current service members and veterans that result from the aggravation during military service of a preexisting condition;
  • The extension of qualifying exigency leave to eligible employees with covered family members serving in the Regular Armed Forces;
  • Inclusion of a foreign deployment requirement for qualifying exigency leave for the deployment of all service members;
  • The addition of a special hours of service eligibility requirement for airline flight crew employees; and
  • The addition of specific provisions for calculating the amount of FMLA leave used by airline flight crew employees.

Once the NPRM is published in the Federal Register there will be a public comment period for 60 days after the date of publication.  Interested parties will be able to submit comments on the proposed rule during this time.  For more information on the proposed revisions, visit the Department of Labor website.

If you have questions about how this may impact your business,  please contact Sean P. Beiter (716.566.5409;, or another member of the Goldberg Segalla Labor and Employment Practice Group.