Recently, the United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour division has proposed amendments to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA allows employees to take unpaid leave from their position, while requiring that employers allow the employee to return to their job after the leave period has finished.

Qualifying circumstances for FMLA benefits include military service, the birth or adoption of a child, or illness of an individual or their family member. Employees can choose to take their leave all at once or divide the time. If employees do choose to divide their leave, all allowed time must be taken within a twelve month period.

The proposed changes to the FMLA do not constitute an extensive restructuring of the Act, but do expand the benefits offered to members of the military and their families. Airline employees will also be affected by these changes. Additionally, changes to how FMLA leave is calculated and reported should be noted by individuals who manage business payroll and employee benefits.

Although these proposed amendments have not yet been passed into law, individuals affected by these changes should educate themselves about these changes before they go into effect.

One of the proposed changes has to do with how FMLA leave is calculated by employers. The new regulations will require employers to calculate leave based on the smallest amount of time used by the business' payroll system. For example, if a business calculates the amount of time an employee works in fifteen-minute increments, that business will be required to calculate FMLA leave in the same way.

Individuals who work in human resources or who are otherwise responsible for overseeing employee benefits should make sure that they are prepared to make any necessary changes in how their company calculates FMLA leave.

Additionally, members of the military and their family members in particular should educate themselves about these proposed changes. If these changes are passed into law, FMLA will offer benefits for the caregivers of injured military personal. Family members can take FMLA leave to care for an ill or injured family member who served in the military and was discharged within the last five years. The amendments stipulate that the ill or injured veteran must have served in a foreign country.

Another proposed change applies to individuals employed by the airline industry. As the law currently stands, airline flight crews need to have worked for their employer for at least a year and need to have logged at least 1250 hours in order to qualify for FMLA leave. Because of the unique nature of the airline industry, flight crews frequently have difficulty meeting these requirements. Therefore, the eligibility for flight crews will be lowered so that those who have logged at least 504 hours in the previous year will qualify for FMLA benefits.

Jordan Blanco writes on behalf of Just CMS 1500 forms, a resource for affordable supplies for health care offices, including the 1500 claim form and other medical claim forms.