The new FMLA regulations promulgated by the Department of Labor (DOL) and described in previous employment alerts will become effective this Friday, January 16, 2009. If you have not yet reviewed and updated your FMLA policies, practices and forms to reflect the changes in the new regulations, you should do so very soon. The new regulations address the two types of military-related family leaves recently added. They also set forth revised and in some cases new administrative requirements for all types of FMLA leave, which will cause most employers to modify the forms used for administering FMLA leaves and the procedures for administering leaves. In light of those significant changes, employers should provide training to supervisors and HR professionals on how to handle leave requests under these new rules.

The DOL recently modified the FMLA poster to include the new types of leave and some generally applicable provisions from the new regulations. You will want to make sure that you timely update your posters. To view the DOL-issued FMLA poster, go to: http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/fmla/finalrule/FMLAPoster.pdf. For more on the new regulations, see our previous employer alerts on regulation revisions and helpful changes.

Employers should also be aware that on January 9, two employment-related bills sailed through the House of Representatives. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act would overturn the Supreme Court's 2007 ruling that the limitations period for pay discrimination claims begins when an employer first decides to pay a female employee less than her male counterparts, and therefore allow employees to assert equal pay claims many years after pay decisions are made and implemented. The Paycheck Fairness Act would increase penalties for gender-based pay discrimination and protect employees who share salary information. Stay tuned for future alerts about Senate activity on this legislation for which President-elect Obama previously has voiced support.