The Ninth Circuit and the California legislature recently updated employer leave requirements, impacting California employers.  The Ninth Circuit recently handed down two decisions regarding leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), including a decision concerning what constitutes a “workweek” for FMLA purposes.  Additionally, as of January 1, 2021, smaller employers in California will have to grant 12 weeks of leave under the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”).  Employers should consider these changes as they update their leave policies, especially as employees may take more extended leaves during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continue Reading California Employers Should Be Aware of Updates to Leave Requirements

In the wake of a deluge of sexual harassment accusations being leveled against high profile figures, and the ensuing #MeToo social media movement, some legislators and judges have been eager to expand protections for certain individuals they see as particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and assault, including hotel workers.
Continue Reading Judges and Legislators in Chicago and California Seek to Expand Protections for Hotel Workers

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a final rule amending the regulatory definition of “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).  We earlier reported on the DOL’s proposed rule to this effect, which is now final and will become effective on March 27, 2015. 
Continue Reading DOL Issues Final Rule Amending FMLA Definition of “Spouse” to Include Same-Sex Marriages

The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed amending the regulatory definition of “spouse” under the Family and Medical Leave Act to expressly include individuals in same-sex marriages.

In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published on June 27, 2014, the DOL proposed the revision in light of the recent United States Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor, which found unconstitutional those provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act that prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriages.


Continue Reading DOL Proposes to Amend FMLA Definition of “Spouse” to Include Same-Sex Marriages

The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), the Employee Benefits Security Administration (“EBSA”) and the Department of Labor (“DOL”) have recently provided new guidance with respect to how lawfully married same-sex spouses will be treated under federal tax laws, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).


Continue Reading IRS, DOL and EBSA Issue Post-DOMA Guidance Regarding Treatment of Same-Sex Spouses

By Karin Johnson and Megan Grant*

When the Supreme Court issued its opinion in U.S. v. Windsor on June 26, it invalidated the federal definitions of “spouse” and “marriage,” and, in so doing, altered employer obligations with respect to same-sex marriages. Although the media coverage of this decision has understandably focused on other implications of the decision, it inevitably creates new challenges for employers. In this post, we will provide insight into how the decision will affect employers moving forward and provide suggestions as to how employers can best prepare in the face of new areas of uncertainty created by this decision.


Continue Reading Considerations for US Employers Post-DOMA

On June 22, 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a clarification of definitions under Section 101(12) of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) designed to ensure all employees who care for children are eligible for parental rights to leave under the Act—even when the employee lacks a legal or biological relationship to the child. The change requires employers to provide FMLA leave to employees caring for children who were previously uncovered by the Act, particularly gay and lesbian parents and "non-traditional" parents who care for children but are not those children’s legal stepparents or guardians. The change is a clarification from the Department about its new interpretation of the FMLA, rather than a statutory or regulatory change to the law. Nevertheless, all employers should take note of the Department’s new guidelines with an eye towards compliance.


Continue Reading Department of Labor Extends Family Medical Leave Act Coverage to Same-Sex, Non-Traditional Parents

In late October, President Obama signed into law a bill that increases protections for families of military personnel who wish to take leave from work under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 ("FMLA"). The new amendments expand on changes implemented less than a year ago requiring that certain employers provide unpaid leave for qualifying family members of military personnel:


Continue Reading Family and Medical Leave Act Further Helps Military Families

Flu season is upon us. With the recent outbreak of the H1N1 Virus ("Swine Flu") as well as the ever-present seasonal flu, employers must face increased absenteeism by their employees. Much like the regular flu, H1N1 causes fever, sore throat, nausea and fatigue. However, this particular strain of illness is predicted to be particularly dangerous not only for those with preexisting medical conditions such as asthma or diabetes, but also for those under the age of 25, as opposed to the elderly who are normally at highest risk of severe injury or death from the seasonal flu. This means that employers will likely see more of their younger employees affected by the H1N1 virus than from the regular flu.


Continue Reading H1N1 Virus and the Workplace: Will this Year’s Flu Cause a Headache for Employers Too?

On November 17, 2008, the United States Department of Labor issued revised regulations interpreting the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  Because these regulations differ from comparable regulations that the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC) has issued interpreting the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), the FEHC plans to revise its CFRA regulations.


Continue Reading The Fair Employment and Housing Commission Updates Its FMLA/CFRA Comparison Chart

The Department of Labor has released a new poster that reflects recent amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA").  As part of the FMLA, employers are required to post in a conspicuous place a notice explaining the Act’s provisions.  The new poster reflects changes that were made to the FMLA in the Department of Labor’s recently published "Final Regulations," which take effect on January 16, 2009.  Among other changes, the new poster contains a description of the requirements for military family leave.  Previously, employers were required to post separate notices regarding military family leave and the FMLA.  The new poster is currently available on the Department of Labor’s website.


Continue Reading Department Of Labor Issues New FMLA Poster And Forms For Employer Use