Tag Archives: fmla

Prevent Child Drownings

SRP among Top Adoption-Friendly Workplaces

Salt River Project was ranked among the top adoption-friendly workplaces among a group of 100 energy and utility companies on the 2013 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces List, released today by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

In the 2013 survey, SRP was ranked No. 5 in the nation in the Energy and Utilities category.  This is the fourth time SRP has been recognized among the top five companies in its industry in the seven years that the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption has issued its list of adoption-friendly companies.

Employees who participate in the SRP adoption benefit program can receive payments, per child, of as much as $4,000 for a regular adoption and as much as $6,000 for a special needs adoption.  Employees receive the payments in their paycheck when the adoption is complete and final.

Under the employee program, the adopted child is eligible to be added to the SRP group insurance plan once he or she is legally placed in the home.  Also, employees may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave as defined under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Every year, the Dave Thomas Foundation announces America’s top 100 adoption-friendly employers, the top 10 by size, and the leaders in each industry from its annual survey of U.S. employers. Rankings are determined by an analysis of a company’s adoption benefits, including the maximum amount of financial reimbursement and paid leave for families who adopt. The top 100 are featured in the September issue of Employee Benefit News, a SourceMedia publication that is the leading source of information for benefits decision makers.

The list recognizes organizations of every size and industry that offer adoption benefits. Employers who applied for the list offer an average of $7,000 and four weeks of paid leave. Financial reimbursement varies from $500 to $25,300, and one to 18 weeks of paid leave. Unpaid leave for adoption, beyond what is required by the Family and Medical Leave Act, ranges from one week to three years.

The Wendy’s Company is No. 1 on this year’s list, with a combination of up to $25,300 in adoption assistance and up to six weeks of paid adoption leave. To view the full list, visit www.adoptionfriendlyworkplace.org. (The Foundation is not an affiliate of The Wendy’s Company.)

There are more than 100,000 children in the U.S. foster care system waiting to be adopted. Every year, more than 26,000 children in foster care turn 18 and age out of the system without families. The annual Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list helps increase foster care adoption awareness while celebrating businesses that support adoptive families.

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a national nonprofit public charity dedicated exclusively to finding permanent homes for the more than 134,000 children waiting in North America’s foster care systems. Created by Wendy’s® founder Dave Thomas who was adopted, the Foundation implements evidence-based, results-driven national service programs, foster care adoption awareness campaigns and advocacy initiatives. To learn more, visit www.davethomasfoundation.org      or call 1-800-ASK-DTFA.

SRP is the largest provider of water and power to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.

iphone

New App for HR Professionals

Fisher & Phillips LLP announced that it has developed a Smartphone and Tablet app that allows employers to calculate certain FMLA leaves of absence. The Beta FMLA Leave Calculator app will allow human resource professionals and other managers to calculate basic leave requests and determine how much FMLA leave an employee has available. This Beta version of the iPhone and Android app was introduced during the SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition in Chicago June 16-19.

Fisher & Phillips Chairman and Managing Partner Roger Quillen said: “The FMLA is a complicated law and FMLA leave calculations can be challenging for employers. Our attorneys frequently field questions about calculating FMLA leave. This new app is a free tool we’re providing to anyone to help them with basic FMLA leave requests. The Beta version covers requests for leave for employees working a standard 40-hour work week. The next version will cover more complicated situations such as employees working reduced work weeks. We’re very excited about introducing the app for the first time to the SHRM members attending the national conference in Chicago.”

Quillen added that the firm is eager to receive feedback from the SHRM members who test the new app. The app will provide an easy way for users to call or email the firm with comments and suggestions.

How the app works

The app offers a user-friendly interface and works very simply utilizing the rolling 12-month method measured backwards from the date of any FMLA leave.

• Enter the number of FMLA leave days the employee is requesting
• Enter the number of days of FMLA leave the employee has already used
• Enter the start date of the requested leave
• Indicate the days of the week the employee works
• Click “Calculate Now!”

The app then reports:

• Number of days of FMLA leave available
• When the employee should return to work based on the new leave request
• How much leave the employee has remaining after the current leave request is completed; if leave has been exhausted at the time of this request, it will indicate such

The HR professional or other manager using the app can then email the information directly to the employee who requested the leave. Of course, further documentation to the employee should be provided as required by the FMLA.

How to get the app

The Fisher & Phillips FMLA Leave app can be downloaded at the Apple App Store or Google Play. On the Apple App Store or Google Play search for “Fisher & Phillips.” You can also visit www.laborlawyers.com/FMLALeaveApp to get the app.

Fisher & Phillips attorneys and marketing professionals worked with developers at Saturno Design to create the new app.

FMLA

Caring For A Relative Injured During Active Military Service Now Permitted Under FMLA

Most Arizona employers associate the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) with employee time off to care for an ailing parent or spouse or to tend to a newborn baby or newly adopted child.

Since early this year, the list of reasons for granting extended employee leaves has become longer, and in some cases, so has the permitted time off.

As of Jan. 28, when President Bush signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 into law, the FMLA extends coverage to employees who are caring for a spouse, child, parent or “next of kin” injured while on active military duty. It also covers unpaid leave “for any qualifying exigency” arising from a spouse, a child or parent of the eligible employee being on active duty (or being notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the armed forces.

It is well documented that military members who are injured in battle are surviving in record numbers, leaving active duty and requiring short- and long-term care to convalesce. This law recognizes this new fact of life for military families.

Companies with 50 or more employees must now grant up to six months of leave in a 12-month period to an eligible employee who is caring for a wounded service member, and 12-weeks leave to an employee helping a relative with a pressing need related to getting his or her affairs in order in preparation for military service.

The two provisions for military families represent the first expansion of the FMLA in the nearly 15 years since it was enacted. The expansion is expected to have significant impact on companies covered by the FMLA as long as overseas deployment of troops — and resulting casualties — continues.

The law is causing confusion in the business world, especially with regard to the definition of an “exigency.” We believe the intent behind this provision is to offer assistance to families who must now prepare for, and deal with, the service member’s deployment. That could include time off for an employee helping to arrange for childcare, attending pre-deployment briefings, handling legal, economic or financial-planning issues, paying bills, or providing emotional support.

Another area of confusion surrounds certification. What information can an employer properly require, for example, regarding the service member’s active duty status and the employee’s “next of kin” status?

The U.S. Department of Labor has promised to issue regulations to clarify the confusion, but they are not expected before this fall. Until then, employers are required to provide leave to employees caring for wounded relatives and are not required but are being encouraged to provide leave for qualifying exigencies.

We advise employers to amend their FMLA policies and practices immediately to reflect these significant changes in the qualifying reasons and duration of protected leave. In addition, as we await final DOL regulations, employers must proceed with caution in addressing an employee’s request for military-related leave.

Employers with questions about employee-leave rights should consider contacting experienced employment law counsel.

Mark Ogden is the managing shareholder of the Phoenix office of Littler Mendelson, the nation’s largest employment and labor law firm representing management. He can be reached at 602-474-3600 or jmogden@littler.com