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New FMLA amendments effective Jan. 16

November 15, 2010

Certain changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) took effect Jan. 16. The FMLA requires covered dealers to provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month period for a variety of reasons.

For the first time, the FMLA gives job-protected leave rights to employees, in certain circumstances, to care for family who serve or served in the armed forces. Other changes include:

• Employees who claim "chronic" illness must visit a health care provider twice a year, and those who claim incapacity must visit a health care provider twice within 30 days of the incapacity.

• Employees who seek intermittent leave must try to schedule their leave so as not to disrupt the employer’s operations. Generally, employees must give at least 30 days’ notice for foreseeable leave.

• Although health care providers may not disclose employee health information without the employee’s consent, dealers may use an employee’s refusal to provide permission as a basis for questioning certification. When a serious health condition exists for more than a year, dealers may require annual medical certification.

The final rule also contains new requirements governing holidays, bonuses, and employer notification requirements. Dealers with 50 or more employees are covered by the FMLA and must post the revised mandatory FMLA poster in the workplace, where it can be read by employees. The revised poster can be downloaded from the CATA Web site.

On the home page of, a tan bar runs across the top of the screen, listing various categories. Click on the rightmost category, Resources, and follow the drop-down menu to Workplace Posters.

The National Automobile Dealers Association has more FMLA information, including how to determine employer coverage and employee eligibility, in a publication, "A Dealer Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act." The publication will be updated later this year to reflect the new changes. Questions can be directed to the NADA’s regulatory affairs department, at 703-821-7040 or