WASHINGTON (12/1/08)—Under statutory changes that go into effect Jan. 16, credit unions and other employers must provide two new forms of military family leave. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, signed into law by President George W. Bush in January, established the following additional family leave policies for military servicemembers:
* "Qualifying exigency leave," which provides 12 work-weeks of leave under certain circumstances, such as short-notice deployments, military events or activities, and post deployment activities; and * “Military caregiver leave," which provides 26 work-weeks of leave to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness who is the employee's spouse, child, parent or next of kin.
The Department of Labor, in issuing a final rule to implement the 2008 rule changes, also updated the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) employee notice provisions . The new rule covers standard posted notices, as well as individual notifications to an employee regarding such things as leave eligibility and conditions of leave. The rule also updates the medical certification requirements for FMLA leave, such as allowing an employer representative to contact, with limitations, an employee's health care provider directly about certification and clarifying the process for handling incomplete or insufficient certifications. Credit unions should consult their human resources counsel for a detailed analysis of how this new rule will impact their institutions, advises the Credit Union National Association compliance department, However, it can be assumed that credit unions will need to review and update their FMLA policies and procedures and FMLA-related forms/resources to reflect these changes. Also, CUNA notes, credit union must be prepared to provide adequate training on the updated rule to management and supervisors where appropriate.