Wyatt Employment Law Report


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U.S. Department of Labor Issues Important New Interpretation of the Family and Medical Leave Act

By George J. Miller

On June 22, 2010, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor issued a written interpretation of the Family and Medical Leave Act concerning whether employees who do not have a biological or legal relationship with a child may nevertheless take FMLA leave for the birth, adoption, or serious health condition of a child.  The DOL’s interpretation of the law is that such employees have the right to take FMLA for these reasons as long as they stand “in loco parentis” with the child.  The FMLA regulations define persons who are “in loco parentis” as including those “with day-to-day responsibilities to care for and financially support a child.”  “A biological or legal relationship is not necessary.”  29 C.F.R. §825.122(c)(3).

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Secretary of Labor Announces Her New “Vision” For American Workers

By Edwin S. Hopson

On December 7, 2009, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis laid out her “vision” in the Fall 2009 Regulatory Plan for the Labor Department’s mission of ensuring “there are good jobs for everyone.” [Emphasis in the original].  Secretary Solis described a “series of 12 specific strategic outcomes” which she hopes will result in achieving her vision.  According to the Labor Department’s website, they are:

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FMLA Amended, Yet Again

By Kim Koratsky

On December 3, 2009, the U.S. House passed a bill that will make the nation’s flight attendants and pilots eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid leave time each year under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  This legislation has already passed the Senate (by unanimous consent) on November 10, and is expected to be signed by the President.  Senate Bill 1422, The Airline Flight Crew Technical Correction Act, clarifies the FMLA to accommodate flight attendants and pilots who, because of the airline industry’s unique calculation of work hours spent on overnights, layovers and waiting to be called to duty, currently do not qualify for leave time.  The Bill’s original sponsor, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) said, Continue reading


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U.S. Department of Labor Posts Updated Employment Law Guide

By Edwin S. Hopson

The U.S. Department of Labor on November 30, 2009, announced that it had posted on its website an updated version of its Employment Law Guide, a publication that describes the major employment laws administered by the agency including the Fair Labor Standards Act, Child Labor laws, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act,  Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, Mine Health and Safety Act, Davis Bacon Act,  Immigration and Nationality Act, and Worker Adjustment and Restraining Act.

 The Employment Law Guide has been drafted in plain language and covers recent changes in employment laws, including the increase in the federal minimum wage and an expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act relating to leave for qualified relatives of veterans to care for ill or injured uniformed service members or to fulfill obligations that arise when a relative is called to active duty in the military.  The Guide also includes a chapter on child labor regulations in the agriculture industry and another on the Defense Base Act, which provides workers’ compensation benefits to civilian employees working outside the United States on U.S. military bases or under certain contracts with the U.S.

 The department also has another on-line resource called FirstStep that constitutes an “overview advisor” that allows employers to quickly and easily determine which federal employment laws apply to them by answering a few simple questions. Each chapter in the Employment Law Guide corresponds to the laws addressed in the FirstStep advisor.

 The updated Employment Law Guide and FirstStep are both are available at http://www.dol.gov/elaws/ or http://www.dol.gov/compliance/.


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National Defense Authorization Act Expands Military Leave Provisions of FMLA

By Laurel Cornell

On October 28, 2009, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010, which made several key amendments to the military family leave provisions of the FMLA:

•           The Act expands qualifying exigency leave to cover Continue reading