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10 Podcasts on the PWFA!
dateJune 11, 2024
As promised, our podcasts on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) are here! We've put together 10 podcasts addressing key points of the PWFA and its final rule and interpretive guidance, effective June 18, 2024. Links to each podcast can be found below: Podcast 1: Leave and the PWFA Podcast 2:
ADA ADA - Reasonable Accommodation
"She Doesn't Look Like She Has a Disability..." Handling Accommodation Requests from Employees with Mental Health Disabilities
dateJune 10, 2024
The month of May flew by. We were so busy with all the PWFA and PFML activity, we did not post this blog in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. Well, better late than never! Employers continue to be challenged with identifying and managing employees who have mental illnesses such as depression,
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid State Laws - Other State Leaves
Whirlwind Changes in Minnesota PFML
dateJune 04, 2024
As we know from all our local and national news stations, it's tornado season and PFML, like Dorothy and Toto, is again swept up in the winds of change. We haven't blogged about Minnesota PFML since last year about this time. Back then, Governor Walz (the great and powerful wizard wasn't available)
State Laws - Other
O-R-E…Oh, Oregon.....AGAIN?!?!? OFLA Leave after July 1.
dateMay 24, 2024
Remember last month when I compared Oregon leave legislation and regulations to a Double Stuff Oreo®? Well, Oregon is back with more filling. I think we might be at Oreo Mega Stuf® level now. So, last month I pointed out that based on Senate Bill 1515 after June 30, 2024, OFLA will no longer provid
Webinars/Podcasts/Conferences Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) Pregnancy
Check Out the Reliance Matrix Webinar on the PWFA! (PWFA Update: Let’s Discuss the Final Regulations)
dateMay 21, 2024
It is here! Reliance Matrix has been busy reading and studying the 408 pages of the PWFA Final Regulations, and we have prepared a pre-recorded webinar that provides an overview of the regulations and helpful examples and scenarios for employers. How do we know that these examples and scenarios are
Webinars/Podcasts/Conferences
Nashville, Here We Come!
dateMay 17, 2024
The Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) 2024 Employer Conference will be in Nashville, August 5-8, 2024 this year. Reliance Matrix will be there and we hope to see you! Check out our presentation schedule with descriptions below! Scott Boutin, Reliance Matrix's Chief Claims Officer, wi
Webinars/Podcasts/Conferences
Podcast - Market Leading Compliance
dateMay 14, 2024
Learn what makes Product Compliance an important industry focus and how Reliance Matrix meets the need (and sets the bar high for every other provider).
Whitepapers
Is Your Parental Leave Policy Compliant? Check out our new whitepaper to find out!
dateMay 13, 2024
How can employers prepare a parental leave policy that is compliant? Are there any resources out there addressing parental leave policies? Well, look no further, Reliance Matrix has you covered. Reliance Matrix recently released a whitepaper entitled Is Your Parental Leave Policy Compliant? The Reli
Pregnancy State Laws - Other State Leaves
Prenatal Leave? COVID Leave? A New York State of Mind.
dateMay 08, 2024
With the State of New York's passage of the 2025 budget bill (S 8305-C, Part M) on April 20, 2025, New York becomes the first state to pass a stand-alone law specifically requiring that employers provide employees with paid prenatal leave. Starting January 1, 2025, NY is going to require all employ
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid State Laws - Other
Maryland PFML, Back to the Future?
dateApril 26, 2024
On April 25, 2024, Maryland Governor Wes Moore signed Senate Bill 485 and House Bill 571, the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program modification bills, into law. What do those bills do? DELAY, DELAY, DELAY the PFML program! Remember when Maryland passed its PFML program in April 2022 by a veto
Pregnancy Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)
Top 10 Important Parts of the PWFA Final Regulations, Pre-Recorded Webinars and More!
dateApril 24, 2024
As we reported last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published the final rule and interpretive guidance implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) in the Federal Register on April 19, 2024. Here are the top 10 things you should know now about the final rule and int
ADA ADA - Reasonable Accommodation ADA - Undue Hardship FMLA DOL EEOC
March 2024 DMEC Compliance Conference: Follow Up!
dateApril 18, 2024
Reliance Matrix was honored to attend and present at two sessions last month at the 2024 Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) Compliance Conference, March 25-28, 2024. On March 26, 2024, Reliance Matrix's Lana L. Rupprecht had the honor of moderating with Marjory Robertson of Sun Life on
Pregnancy Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)
FINALLY!! The Final Regulations For the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) Are Here!
dateApril 15, 2024
Finally! After what started to feel like an eternal wait, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued the final rule and interpretive guidance implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) earlier today. The PWFA is a federal law that requires most employers to provide reasonab
Webinars/Podcasts/Conferences
April 2024 Quarterly Compliance Update
dateApril 12, 2024
It is already time again for the next Quarterly Compliance Update! Join us on Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at 2:00 p.m. E.T. to get an update on all major legal developments impacting the leave management industry over the period beginning January 2024 to the present! Specifically, the Compliance team wi
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid State Laws - Other
O-R-E...Oh, Oregon. Oregon PFML and OFLA Legislation Has More Filling Than a Double Stuff Oreo®.
dateApril 10, 2024
Remember when we blogged about the alignment between Oregon Paid Family and Medical Leave (OR PFML) and the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) here and here? IGNORE THEM! Just kidding, kinda. On March 20, 2024, Governor Kotek signed Senate Bill 1515 into law. The bill represents the Oregon legislature's
State Laws - Other State Leaves State Paid Family and Medical/Disability Benefits
Do Employees in Statutory Paid Leave States Still Need STD Coverage? Yes They Do!
dateApril 04, 2024
As states continue to implement paid leave programs, more employers are asking whether Short Term Disability (STD) coverage still offers value to employees covered under a mandatory statutory paid leave program. Do employees really need both? The answer is yes, and we're here to tell you why. We pro
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) Pregnancy Lawsuits/Court Opinions
Women's History Month and the PWFA! What is next?
dateMarch 21, 2024
It's March and that means it's Women's History Month. As you probably know, two important laws were recently enacted that impact women: the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP Act). For background on each of these laws, check out our earlier blogs at the f
ADA ADA - Reasonable Accommodation ADA - Undue Hardship
When Do Repeated Extension Requests Become Indefinite Leave?
dateMarch 15, 2024
Spring Break season is here! As a result, employers may be receiving time off requests. Regular run of the mill vacation or PTO requests are generally easy to handle. But what should an employer do if faced with a scenario like the one below? Scenario: You have a long-term high performing employe
FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions
Lessons from Wayland v. OSF Healthcare System, FMLA and Performance Standards
dateMarch 07, 2024
Is an employer obligated to adjust its performance standards for employees who are taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? The answer is yes, as the 7th Circuit recently confirmed in Wayland v. OSF Healthcare System (Feb. 28, 2024). In Wayland, the employee, Marianne Wayland (Way
ADA FMLA Webinars/Podcasts/Conferences
Get Ready for the 2024 DMEC FMLA/ADA Compliance Conference!
dateFebruary 27, 2024
The 2024 Disability Management Employer Conference (DMEC) FMLA/ADA Compliance Conference starts March 25! For more information check out the agenda 2024 DMEC Compliance Conference Agenda | DMEC, and registration information: 2024 DMEC Compliance Conference | DMEC. Reliance Matrix will be there and p
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid State Laws - Other
Breaking News: PFML Private Plan Reporting in Massachusetts
dateFebruary 20, 2024
On February 14, 2024, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) announced reporting requirements for paid family and medical leave private plans. Employers, insurance carriers, and third-party administrators may have received a blast email directly from DFML with the announceme
ADA ADA - Reasonable Accommodation Lawsuits/Court Opinions
A Valentine’s Day Present!
dateFebruary 14, 2024
Happy Valentine's Day! The 10th Circuit recently showed its love for employers on February 7, 2024, in an employer-friendly decision, Freman v. City of Cheyenne. The Case In this case, the employee, Denise Freeman, was the human resources director for the City of Cheyenne. According to Freeman, once
FMLA FMLA - Certifications
Happy Birthday FMLA! Now, how do I handle incomplete or insufficient medical certifications?
dateFebruary 08, 2024
This week, on February 5, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) turned 31! Happy birthday! Along with Presidents Washington and Lincoln, what a great month for a birthday! To celebrate, we want to revisit a common challenges employers face in administering FMLA leave: responding to incomplete or i
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid State Laws - Other
Expiring and Renewing Private PFML Plans in Connecticut
dateJanuary 31, 2024
Like the avocados you are sure you just bought, is your Connecticut PFML private plan expiring? Private PFML plans in Connecticut are effective for three years, unlike the avocados which barely last for three days. Since the CT PFML program began in 2021, many private plans are expiring now. Unlike
ADA FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions
Labrice v. City of Philadelphia: Important Lessons for Employers
dateJanuary 23, 2024
We are just a few weeks into 2024, and the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has already issued an interesting leave-related decision containing important reminders for employers. The case is Labrice v. City of Philadelphia, Civil Action No. 19-4377 (Jan. 16, 2024, E.D. Penn). On March 23, 2018, Mich
DOL EEOC Bereavement Leave Pregnancy Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) PUMP Act Lawsuits/Court Opinions State Paid Family and Medical/Disability Benefits
New Year! New Laws! 2024 Trends in Leave Management
dateJanuary 12, 2024
Happy New Year! We at Reliance Matrix are excited for 2024 and hope you are as well. To bring in the New Year, we are providing you with a countdown of the top 5 leave management trends we expect to see in 2024. Trend # 1: Increased Pregnancy Protections! The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) wen
Webinars/Podcasts/Conferences
Quarterly Compliance Update
dateJanuary 08, 2024
Happy New Year! Let's start 2024 out right with another Quarterly Compliance Update! We will provide an update on all major developments from the last quarter of 2023 to the present! Join the Compliance Team on January 18, 2024 at 2:00 p.m. ET for an update on the following: Paid Family and Me
State Leaves State Laws - Unpaid Leaves State Laws - Other Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)
2023’s a Wrap! A Toast to 2024!
dateDecember 27, 2023
Can you believe it's already the end of the year? And what a year it's been! In 2023, we saw the official end (finally!) of the COVID-19 National Emergency, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act became effective, Minnesota and Maine passed their Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) laws, and the benefi
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) Pregnancy
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and the Final Regulations. We're Waiting!!!
dateDecember 22, 2023
As we previously reported to you, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published proposed regulations and related materials in support of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) back on August 11, 2023. Check out our prior blogs about this linked here: PWFA Proposed Regulations,
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid State Laws - Other
The Gift That Keeps Giving or a Lump of Coal? California SB 951's Changes to SDI and PFL
dateDecember 13, 2023
As we previously blogged about here, while the governor signed California SB 951 back in September 2022, its PFML gifts are now ready to be opened along with the presents to be opened for the December holidays. California's State Disability Insurance program (SDI) covers an employee's own non-work-r
FMLA
Responding to FMLA Intermittent Requests for Planned Medical Treatment - When Does This "Unduly Disrupt" Operations?
dateDecember 07, 2023
Intermittent leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) continues to challenge employers. The FMLA regulations require employees needing leave for planned medical treatment to make reasonable efforts to schedule such treatment in a manner that does not disrupt unduly the employer's operatio
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid State Laws - Other
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Travel Tuesday and PFML Rate Friday
dateDecember 01, 2023
Now that the shopping days since Thanksgiving have passed, it's time to focus on PFML rate changes. Do you spend a portion of every day shopping all 14 of the state PFML websites to see which ones have posted their updated benefits and contribution rates for next year? What about the minimum wage an
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid State Laws - Other
Colorado PFML – Like a Pardoned Thanksgiving Turkey, Be Thankful Rule Making is Ending for the Year
dateNovember 22, 2023
About a month ago, we blogged about all the PFML rule changes in Oregon. Not to be outdone, Colorado enacted a significant number of PFML rule changes of its own. The most recent were enacted on October 31, 2023, as if Halloween wasn't scary enough. Here is a summary of the changes: 7 CCR 1107-3: Re
ADA ADA - Documentation/Confidentiality
What Medical Information Can Employers Request and Remain ADA Compliant?
dateNovember 15, 2023
Many employers do not know what medical information they are entitled to request under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and once they get such information, many employers do not know how to maintain it. But we can help. Here is a summary which is based upon the following EEOC Guidance: Enfo
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid State Laws - Other
Employees in Massachusetts Will Be Able To Top Off Their Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) Benefits Soon!
dateNovember 02, 2023
What does it mean to top off (or top up) PFML benefits? PFML benefits are typically partial wage replacement. Being able to top off or top up those benefits means that employees can supplement their PFML benefits to reach 100% (or closer to 100%) of their average wages while on leave. Previously, em
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid State Laws - Other
Delaware PFML Going Where No PFML Plan Has Gone Before - Grandfathering
dateOctober 30, 2023
Not content to simply follow the PFML path forged by others, Delaware is charting a new course that will allow employers to grandfather their existing leave benefits programs in lieu of participating in the Delaware Paid Leave, Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (also referred to as the Heal
State Laws - Other
California Reproductive Loss Leave
dateOctober 24, 2023
The Governor of California recently signed SB848 which amends the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and requires certain employers to provide employees with 5 days of reproductive loss leave. Under this law, California employees who have worked for 30 days or more for an employer employing
ADA
"I Need an Accommodation for my Disability, But I Won’t Talk to You!" How to Comply with the ADA with Uncooperative Employees
dateOctober 18, 2023
Halloween is coming and sometimes, nothing can be scarier than struggling with employees who make vague references to an impairment but do not follow through and then, surprise you with a lawsuit later OR they ghost you and refuse to participate and/or cooperate in the interactive process. Consider
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid State Laws - Other
And, Even More Updates on Paid Leave Oregon (Oregon’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML))!
dateOctober 17, 2023
If you attended our most recent Quarterly Compliance Update, Oregon (and to be fair, other states) has everyone running around with their PFML hair on fire. Since our last blog regarding Oregon PFML, a lot has happened: Thirty-five (35) rule changes (yes 35!) in Batch 7 of the Oregon Administra
EEOC DOL
Big Brother is Watching You! Two Major Federal Agencies Agree to Collaborate in Employer Investigations
dateSeptember 27, 2023
Talk about collaboration on a grand scale! Two federal agencies of huge importance to employers are the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL WHD) , and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). On September 14, 2023, these agencies entered into a Memorandum of Unders
Webinars/Podcasts/Conferences
Quarterly Compliance Update
dateSeptember 25, 2023
It is time again for another Quarterly Compliance Update. Join the Compliance Team on October 5, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. ET for all the latest information. The update will cover: Paid Family and Medical Leave Update Legislative Update Regulatory Guidance Update Enforcement and Litigation
FMLA
"I'm Sick, I'm Dizzy and My Head Hurts!" Responding to Vague FMLA Requests
dateSeptember 19, 2023
What would you do if an employee called you stating the following? "I'm sick, I'm dizzy and my head hurts! There's a family emergency." "Please accept my doctor's note!" (And the note states: "Please excuse from work on 9/4/18. He had an app...") "My back and shoulder hurt...I need FMLA
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) Pregnancy
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), Proposed Regulations, Part 2
dateSeptember 06, 2023
As promised, here is Part 2 of our summary of key issues surrounding the proposed regulations and related materials for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) published by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on August 11, 2023. First, here is our prior blog containing Part 1 of our
Domestic Violence/Safe Leave State Laws - Other Bereavement Leave Donor Leave
Illinois Leave Law Activity: VESSA Amendments, New Type of Bereavement Leave and Organ Donation
dateAugust 29, 2023
Earlier this month, the Governor of Illinois signed three leave-related laws impacting employees in Illinois. All are effective January 1, 2024. What are they? Read on for more! HB 2493 Amendments to Illinois Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA) The law amends VESSA, as follows: If
EEOC ADA
Must An Employer Accommodate an Employee's Commute? Maybe...
dateAugust 25, 2023
Most employers understand they have an obligation to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees, absent undue hardship. But what if the employee needs an accommodation to get to and from work? Isn't that the employee's, and not the employer's, responsibility? The recent case, Equal Empl
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) Pregnancy
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), Proposed Regulations, Part I
dateAugust 23, 2023
On August 11, 2023 The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published proposed regulations and related materials in support of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). These materials are very comprehensive – as we mentioned in our previous alert, they are 275 pages long. For those of you
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid State Laws - Other
The 14th Member of the Mandatory PFML Family is Born
dateAugust 16, 2023
On July 11, 2023, Governor Mills signed the Maine PFML (ME PFML) program into law. Thirteen other states and D.C. have mandatory paid family and medical leave laws, all of which can be found on our Statutory Disability and Paid Family and Medical Leave Laws website. When does it start? Maine's PFML
EEOC Parental/Bonding Leave Pregnancy
The EEOC Works Fast (This Time) – Proposed Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Regulations are Here!
dateAugust 15, 2023
The federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) went into effect on June 27, 2023. You can read our prior blogs about the Act here: Pregnant Workers Fairness Act: Reminder and Updated Poster Take Care of Your Pregnant Employees! Workplace Protections Continue to Increase Get Ready to Comply with th
Introducing Absence Mentor: You’re not in Kansas, anymore! (yet)
dateAugust 13, 2023
I remember it like it was yesterday, sharing a glass of wine with my colleague Marti Cardi, talking about the amazing things happening at Reliance Matrix. Fast forward and here we are, with several milestones between now and then: Marti announced her quasi-semi-finally-ready-to-probably-start-h
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid State Laws - Other
To Delay or Not Delay, That Was Oregon’s Question
dateJuly 19, 2023
To delay or not delay, that was the question. Well, the wait is finally over. After much anticipation and more drama than Shakespeare's Hamlet, Oregon has decided that its PFML program is sufficiently solvent to proceed on September 3, 2023! However, there is so much more going on in Oregon – more t
FMLA ADA
Don’t Forget Today!
dateJuly 19, 2023
2023 Tools & Tactics Webinar: Navigating the "No Overtime" Compliance Quandary - Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC)   Discussing FMLA and ADA and its impact on overtime Wednesday, July 19 at 12:00 p.m. ET Client Code: 23MATRIX1 STARRING: Shelby Felton, Esq. and Armando Rodriguez, Esq
Quarterly Compliance Update
dateJuly 12, 2023
We hope you are all having a wonderful summer. Time is flying by! We cannot believe it is already time again for another quarterly update from Reliance Matrix. Join Nell Walker, Marti Cardi, Shelby Felton, Lana Rupprecht and the rest of the Compliance Team on July 13, 2023 at 2:00pm ET to get a quar
Supreme Court Clarifies the "Undue Hardship" Test for Religious Accommodations: The Standard is Higher
dateJuly 03, 2023
On June 29, the Supreme Court of the United States issued an important decision impacting employers considering religious accommodations for their employees. In the decision, Groff v. DeJoy, the Supreme Court clarified the meaning of "undue hardship" under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (
FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions
67 Employees have Simultaneous Soft-Tissue Injuries! What’s an Employer to Do?
dateJune 29, 2023
Thanks for contributions from our Directors and Product Compliance Counsel Lana Rupprecht and Shelby Felton.     "In order to maintain the integrity of the FMLA, employers must be able to investigate and address plausible allegations that employees have been dishonest in their medical leave claims.
Pregnancy
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act: Reminder and Updated Poster
dateJune 26, 2023
This summer is flying by! Can you believe it almost the end of June? Also, can you believe that the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) is effective this week? On June 27, 2023!! Check out our prior blog posts summarizing the PWFA linked below. Get Ready to Comply with the Pregnant Workers Fairness
ADA FMLA
Infertility – A Tangled Web of Employee FMLA and ADA Rights (Part 2: ADA Coverage)
dateJune 23, 2023
We're back with Part 2 of our discussion of employee workplace rights regarding infertility, this time addressing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Infertility is estimated to impact 1 in 8 couples in the United States. Treatment for infertility usually conflicts with work schedules and can
FMLA
Planned Medical Treatment and the FMLA: Another DMEC Podcast!
dateJune 20, 2023
Matrix Absence Management, Inc. (Reliance Matrix) and the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC), just posted a new podcast discussing how to handle an employee's intermittent leave requests for planned medical treatment as permitted and defined by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). D
FMLA ADA Pregnancy
Infertility - A Tangled Web of Employee FMLA and ADA Rights (Part 1: FMLA Coverage)
dateJune 13, 2023
Infertility. Hard to imagine a more emotional and personal health issue, and one that employers often won't realize an employee is experiencing. But it's not an uncommon problem. The condition is defined as when a couple is unable to get pregnant after one year of regular unprotected sex. For women
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid Parental/Bonding Leave Pregnancy
Minnesota: Time Off and Benefits and Leaves, Oh My!
dateJune 07, 2023
The Minnesota legislature was very busy this session paving the yellow brick road with leave options for life's various journeys. Reliance Matrix is here to provide a summary to help you and your employees navigate your way while avoiding lions, and tigers, and bears. Paid Family and Medical Leave L
FMLA
Does FMLA Take a Holiday? New DOL Opinion Letter
dateJune 05, 2023
On May 30, 2023, right after the Memorial Day holiday, the Department of Labor (DOL), issued Opinion Letter FMLA2023-2-A. What question does the Opinion Letter address? The Opinion Letter discusses the calculation of leave taken under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) during a holiday week. 
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Paid Leave Oregon – It’s Coming!
dateMay 22, 2023
Paid Leave Oregon ensures employees can take paid time off to care for themselves or their loved ones during life's important moments. We have a special pre-recorded webinar to explore all that you need you know in advance of the go live date. Hosted by Rebecca Ford, Esq. Product Director and Shelby
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Paid Family and Medical Leave Programs: Keep Up with the New Trends!
dateMay 22, 2023
As many of you know, several states have adopted mandatory paid family and medical leave (PFML) programs that are overseen by the state and funded by employee payroll taxes and/or employer contributions. But more and more states are offering alternative models of such programs. Voluntary Programs On
FMLA DOL
New FMLA Poster!
dateMay 15, 2023
You may have heard, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) just revised its Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) poster. How exciting! What is this FMLA poster? Under the FMLA regulations, all covered employers must post and keep posted, a poster explaining the FMLA and describing how employees may file
FMLA
Balancing Employees’ Obligations to Report and Communicate but not “Work” While on FMLA Leave
dateMay 03, 2023
"Where did you save the latest customer list?" "How are you feeling?" "I know you're on leave but can you just finish that Jones project in the next few days?" Understanding what employers can communicate to employees who are on Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave – and what they can expect in
FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
More Webinars! FMLA Abuse, FMLA and Overtime, Paid Leave Oregon and More
dateApril 27, 2023
The Reliance Matrix Product Compliance Team has been very busy in preparation for some key webinars. First, on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, at 11:15-12:15 Eastern Time, Nell Walker, Vice President, Deputy General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer and Lana Rupprecht, Director & Product Compliance Counsel
Quarterly Compliance Update
dateApril 17, 2023
It is about that time again! Join Marti Cardi, Shelby Felton, Armando Rodriguez and Eric Broutman from the Matrix Product Compliance Team on April 24, 2023 at 2:00pm EST to get a quarterly update. They will cover: An update on state and federal legislation Updates on state Paid Family and M
ADA
8th Circuit finds no ADA violation for terminating an employee who will “fight you to the end…”
dateMarch 27, 2023
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, in the case, Winters v. Deere & Company, just issued a pro-employer decision. This case is an important resource for employers struggling with employees who display inappropriate conduct at work and who refuse accommodations. The Facts The employee, Michael James Wi
The 2023 DMEC Compliance Conference is Almost Here!
dateMarch 20, 2023
The 2023 DMEC FMLA/ADA Compliance Conference, starts next, Monday March 27. The 2023 conference offers the latest solutions to the complex world of compliance. Register here: www.dmec.org/compliance-conference Come see Reliance Matrix at our booth 305 during the week and chat with a Reliance Matrix
Cause for Celebration or Ho-Hum? A Look at the Impact of the End of the COVID National Emergency on Leave and Disability Laws
dateMarch 08, 2023
President Biden recently announced that effective May 11, 2023, he will end the public health emergency, more than three (3) years after initially declared. Woo hoo! Or is it, so what? Most mask mandates ended long ago, and over the years (years!) of COVID, recommendations on quarantining and other
DOL
DOL’s NEW Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) for Teleworkers
dateFebruary 24, 2023
The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has been busy this month. On February 9, the DOL issued an Opinion Letter discussing mandatory overtime and the FMLA. Marti Cardi discusses this in detail in a prior blog: DOL Confirms: Employees Can Avoid Mandatory Overtime Indefinite
Pregnancy
Take Care of Your Pregnant Employees! Workplace Protections Continue to Increase
dateFebruary 20, 2023
2023 is off to a good start for pregnant workers. Two federal laws passed at the end of 2022 provide accommodation rights and other protections to pregnant employees. The trend continues full speed among states to pass laws requiring workplace accommodations and other job protections for pregnant em
DOL FMLA
DOL Confirms: Employees Can Avoid Mandatory Overtime Indefinitely by Using an FMLA Reduced Schedule
dateFebruary 14, 2023
Does this sound familiar? Your employee Alex works in a department that regularly requires mandatory overtime. Alex has presented you with an FMLA request and a certification from a health care provider limiting Alex to working 8 hours per day – indefinitely. Alex is the 4th employee on a team of 10
FMLA
FMLA at 30 – Is It Time to Revitalize?
dateFebruary 07, 2023
In case you've missed all the publicity, the federal Family and Medical leave Act ("FMLA") turned 30 on February 5. You know the basics: employers with 50 or more employees must provide job-protected leave for eligible employees for specific reasons, including caring for a limited selection of famil
ADA
Wait, What? States Have Disability Accommodation Laws Too!?!
dateJanuary 30, 2023
We know being a multi-state employer isn't easy, but when it comes to disability accommodations, maybe you thought you could relax a little. There's the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and there's California. Nothing else to know, right? Wrong. Although we hate to see any of you lose sleep, w
Domestic Violence/Safe Leave
Understanding Domestic Violence Leave Laws: A DMEC Podcast
dateJanuary 23, 2023
Matrix has, once again, teamed up with the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC), this time for a podcast discussing domestic leave laws. During this podcast, Marti Cardi and Lana Rupprecht discuss and answer questions about leave laws for victims of domestic or sexual violence and share t
FMLA Pregnancy
Get Ready to Comply with the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) in 2023
dateJanuary 09, 2023
On December 29, 2022, the President signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act. One part of this Act included the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), effective June 27, 2023. What is the PWFA? This is a federal law with a stated purpose to "eliminate discrimination and promote women's health and
DON’T MISS THE NEXT QUARTERLY COMPLIANCE UPDATE
dateJanuary 04, 2023
Happy New Year! Join the Matrix Compliance Team on January 10, 2023 at 2:00pm EST to get an update on the fourth quarter of 2022 and what's coming up in the first quarter of 2023. This quarterly update will cover: An update on state and federal legislation Updates on state Paid Family and
ADA Domestic Violence/Safe Leave FMLA
Post Holiday Blues: Handling Employees' Mental Health Conditions
dateJanuary 03, 2023
It is well known that the year-end holidays can be difficult for some individuals, particularly those suffering with mental health conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the number of visits to physician offices with mental illness as the primary diagnosis is: 55.7 million.
DOL FMLA
Cancer Knows No Season – Helpful FMLA Guidance from the Department of Labor
dateDecember 22, 2022
I was debating a fun little Rudolph-based blog post (Is that red nose a disability? Was it an ADA violation for his co-workers to exclude him from the reindeer games?) but then Helen Applewhaite dropped a note in my inbox telling me about some new Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) materials. Ms. A
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Early New Year's PFML Toast to Oregon and Colorado
dateDecember 15, 2022
We recently posted an update on the New Hampshire voluntary paid family and medical leave program. But that's not the only state with significant events happening when the ball drops on December 31, 2022! Here's what's happening starting January 1, 2023, in Oregon and Colorado. Oregon Milestones. Wi
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Granite State PFML Program – Gathering No Moss... (and why you should pay attention even if you don’t have New Hampshire employees)
dateDecember 07, 2022
State paid family and medical leave (PFML) programs just keep rolling along, and that includes New Hampshire's Paid Family and Medical Leave Plan. In the quickest state PFML turnaround timetable to date (and that's not necessarily a good thing in the PFML space) New Hampshire is set to begin offerin
FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions
One FMLA Call-In Number or Two? Employers Can Pick but Should Make It Clear
dateDecember 01, 2022
Long-time readers of this blog know that employers can require employees to report an FMLA-covered absence twice – once to the FMLA administrator and once to another source for attendance purposes. A recent case out of the Sixth Circuit, Render v. FCA US, LLC, brings home the point that an employer
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
California Dreamin'
dateOctober 24, 2022
All the leaves aren't quite brown, and the sky isn't quite gray yet (well, I guess it depends on where you live!), but we're definitely thinking about California. On September 29, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed 4 leave-related bills into law. Let's jump right in and take a look at the changes. C
FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions
The "Cat's Paw" and the FMLA
dateOctober 21, 2022
Ready for a modern-day fable? The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a pro employer decision in an FMLA retaliation case by analyzing one of our favorite legal principles, the "cat's paw" theory of liability. In legal cases, the cat's paw theory holds that an employer can be liable for un
Domestic Violence/Safe Leave FMLA
NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH
dateOctober 12, 2022
In recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we have teamed up with the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) and will be participating in the 2022 DMECommunities Q&A: Domestic Violence Leave Laws, a Q&A session on Wednesday, Oct. 19 from 12:00-12:30 pm ET. If you are a DM
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
More Webinars! Closing in on OR and CO PFML! PLUS Our Quarterly Compliance Update
dateOctober 03, 2022
We are excited share with you links to some upcoming webinars.  Each of these webinars is available live or on demand (after the presentation date) with a click on the links below. First, an update on October 11, 2022 on the Oregon and Colorado Paid Family and Medical Leave Programs and the fast-app
FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions
Look Out Employers! Facebook Messenger May Be Sufficient Notice Under The FMLA
dateSeptember 21, 2022
Imagine this: Your employee Kasey misses several days of work due to a recurring infection related to an emergency appendectomy. Your policy, which is provided to all employees, requires Kasey to call in on a specific phone line at least 30 minutes before a shift if going to be tardy or absent. If a
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Oregon and Colorado PFML: Shifting Sands
dateSeptember 12, 2022
Employers are eager – shall we even say anxious? – for concrete information about the imminent paid family and medical leave programs in Oregon and Colorado, but with contribution effective dates and private plan deadlines only a few months away, are there enough details to satisfy them? Maybe not.
ADA FMLA
Employers: Update Your Understanding of the Interactive Process
dateAugust 16, 2022
When an employee provides notice to his employer of a disability and expresses a desire for a reasonable accommodation, the employee and the employer must engage in good-faith communications—what we have termed the interactive process. Once an employee triggers the interactive process, both the emp
DOL EEOC FMLA
Important Takeaways from the DOL and EEOC at the August 2022 DMEC Annual Conference!
dateAugust 04, 2022
This week, while attending the 2022 Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) Annual Conference, Marti Cardi had the honor of acting as one of the moderators (together with Marjory Robertson of Sun Life) for a panel that included Helen M. Applewhaite, Director of the FMLA Division for the U.S.
Lawsuits/Court Opinions Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
I’ve Been Everywhere Man...
dateAugust 01, 2022
My goodness, has it been a month?  Sorry about that dear, readers – but as Johnny Cash alluded to in our title here; we’ve been a little busy.  And, it’s not letting up!  This week it’s off to Denver for the DMEC Annual Conference for two sessions (we’re at booth 409 stop by and say Hi!). Be on the
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Illinois Expands Bereavement Leave
dateJune 30, 2022
Did you know that Illinois, Oregon, and Washington are the only states that require employers to provide bereavement leave to their employees? Illinois's Child Bereavement leave has been in effect since 2016. Recently, Illinois enacted a law to expand coverage. While the expansion does not increase
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Six Months After Paid Leave "Go Live," Connecticut's Employer Notice Requirement Takes Effect
dateJune 13, 2022
UPDATE - June 17, 2022 Many employers have been concerned about the short period of time to comply with this notice requirement. Even though it has been in the Connecticut PFML statute for a couple of years, details about the notice requirement were just released this month. Well good
Parental/Bonding Leave Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Coming Soon To an Alabama Employer Near You: Alabama Parental Leave!
dateJune 03, 2022
Eligible Alabama employees will soon be able to take up to 12 weeks of parental leave to care for and bond with a newborn or newly placed adopted child. Like Delaware’s new family and medical leave insurance law, Alabama’s new parental leave law, “The Adoption Promotion Act,” (Senate Bill 31) borrow
FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Who's on First: "Work State" and the Impact on Paid Leave Benefits
dateJune 01, 2022
Lately, employers are asking Matrix what state they should designate as the "work state" for their employees. Now, you may be asking yourself, "how many people really come to you and ask about work state?" The answer is: a lot! As the elusive Return To Office (or RTO) becomes more aspirational and l
FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions
NO CERTIFICATION? THEN, NO FMLA LEAVE FOR YOU!
dateMay 24, 2022
Employers often receive medical documentation from an employee to support an FMLA request, but no certification. What should an employer do in that situation? Consider the following scenario. Jake and Zyloc * Jake (a fictional character) worked for Zyloc (a fictional company) as a financial analyst.
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Next on the Hit Parade: Delaware Family and Medical Leave Insurance
dateMay 11, 2022
The buzz around Maryland’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) hasn’t even died down and here’s Delaware with their Family and Medical Leave Insurance program (FMLI). Unlike Maryland, Delaware Senate Bill 1 became law without the dramatic flair of a veto and veto override. That being said, this bil
ADA
Join us for a timely DMEC webinar on Workplace Accommodations
dateMay 02, 2022
You know, while many of you were outside on the playground during recess, we here at Matrix Radar were inside double-checking our work. We never got to sit with the Cool Kids, but look at us now: After all these, people are still asking us for the answers! Which is why we want to invite you to join
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
It’s a New Year, and We Have New PFML Laws! Developments in 2022 (So Far!)
dateApril 18, 2022
We’re off to a grand start for paid family and medical leave developments in 2022.  In this post we’ll share: Our up-to-date map showing 2022 state PFML legislative activity The new Virginia law authorizing private paid family leave insurance independent of a state program The just-pass
Parental/Bonding Leave
TOP 5 ISSUES TO CONSIDER WHEN PREPARING A PARENTAL LEAVE POLICY
dateApril 07, 2022
Are you thinking about implementing a parental leave policy? Good for you! Well planned parental leave policies are excellent recruiting and retention tools, AND more importantly, offer great benefits for your employees. Planning ahead is essential—even more so due to multiple state paid family and
ADA FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
DMEC Compliance Conference
dateMarch 17, 2022
Good Things Come to Those Who Wait! And this year’s DMEC Compliance Conference, starting this coming Monday March 21st, is no different!  Our very own Marti Cardi, Vice President Product Compliance and Lana Rupprecht, Director, Product Compliance will be front and center on the last two days of the
ADA DOL FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions
Valentine’s Day Workplace Happenings
dateFebruary 14, 2022
Valentine’s Day isn’t usually a big event for leaves of absence, but join us as we take a look at 3 scenarios where the employers had their hands full.    Flower Power Miranda has numerous allergies for which she takes FMLA time periodically, especially in the Spring when plants are in bloom.  She
Lawsuits/Court Opinions OSHA
Vaccination Update: OSHA ETS Withdrawn But OSHSA Is Still Seeking a Permanent Standard
dateJanuary 27, 2022
You knew it was coming...another update on vaccination mandates. As we previously informed you here, on January 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an Order staying the enforcement of the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). The OSHA ETS was the federal vaccination or testing requirement for
Now That The OSHA ETS Is Blocked, Beware Of State Legislation...
dateJanuary 18, 2022
As we reported on Friday, here, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked OSHA's enforcement of the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), which previously required many private employers with 100 or more employees to implement a vax or test policy. Employers may still opt to implement such a policy. As promised
Pandemic Lawsuits/Court Opinions OSHA
The OSHA ETS Is Blocked But The CMS IFR Moves Forward
dateJanuary 14, 2022
During our January 11 Quarterly Compliance Update we reported that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard oral arguments on January 7 on two federal vaccination mandates. Specifically, SCOTUS was asked to determine whether the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) and the Interim Fi
Pandemic DOL FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Q4 - The Docket
dateJanuary 10, 2022
Happy New Year!  But before we close the books on 2021, let’s take a last look at the fourth quarter of 2021, its legislative activities and go over what it means to you.  Compliance updates in the coming year show no sign of slowing down, but keep up with our webinar series, The Docket: The fourth
ADA Pandemic DOL EEOC FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Your 2021 Wrapped: A Year in Leave Management
dateJanuary 03, 2022
In December, social media was flooded with users sharing their 2021 Wrapped, exposing their eclectic tastes in music with the world. Apparently, I listen to movie soundtracks WAY more than I realized, but that’s not important right now. Immediately after, people on the internet started imagining wha
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Massachusetts PFML Turns 1!
dateDecember 22, 2021
And even after almost a year of paying benefits, many issues are still murky at best regarding how to administer – or how the state will administer – the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave program (MA PFML). But last week the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave gifted emplo
Pandemic Lawsuits/Court Opinions OSHA
The OSHA Vaccination Mandate is Back!
dateDecember 20, 2021
What a weekend! Just as we were about to start writing a blog summarizing various state vaccination-related laws, we received word on late Friday evening, December 17, that the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals dissolved the prior stay on the OSHA Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (OS
Pandemic OSHA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
New York City's Guidance on Vaccination Mandates And Other Vaccination Mandate Litigation...
dateDecember 16, 2021
New York City (NYC) released its guidance, the Implementing Order of the Commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene to Require COVID-19 Vaccination in the Workplace (“Order") and additional resources on its vaccination mandate for private businesses with workers in NYC. We previously discussed NYC’s
Pandemic Lawsuits/Court Opinions OSHA
Vaccination Mandates: More Court Activity
dateDecember 10, 2021
As we were writing our blog on the NYC vaccination mandate, a federal district court issued a nationwide injunction on the federal contractor COVID-19 vaccination mandate, Executive Order 14042. Here is the rundown of that decision and additional vaccine-related court developments. Nationwide Injunc
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Changes to Connecticut FMLA are coming! Just when you thought you had CT paid leave mastered...
dateDecember 09, 2021
January 1 is just around the corner and Connecticut employees will be eligible to receive Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) benefits. But that's not all! Many changes to the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CT FMLA) are also effective as of January 1, 2022. In all of the hullabaloo conce
Pandemic
Vaccination Mandates: New York City and Other Key Vaccination Laws
dateDecember 08, 2021
New York City Vaccine Mandate for Private Businesses What Happened? Yesterday, New York City (NYC) announced a vaccination mandate applicable to private businesses with employees working in NYC. Here are the key points employers should know. All private employers must require every NYC employee
Domestic Violence/Safe Leave Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
ILLINOIS EXPANDS ITS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LEAVE LAW EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2022
dateDecember 01, 2021
Would you like a break from all the updates on the vaccination mandates? Well, here you go. This blog is devoted to discussing amendments to the Illinois Victims Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA) taking effect in the New Year. The law, which can be found here, currently permits employees wor
Pandemic DOL
Vaccination Mandates: More Injunctions – And DOL Extends Notice and Comment Period on OSHA ETS
dateDecember 01, 2021
As promised, we are continuing to monitor the developments on the vaccination mandate front. This continues to be a fluid and fast-paced situation. In fact, while we were drafting this blog, we had to revise twice to incorporate the new changes. For background, our previous blogs on vaccination mand
Pandemic Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Even MORE Vax News: Florida’s Restrictions on Vaccination Mandates
dateNovember 29, 2021
On the same day we were preparing our blog discussing the status of federal vaccination mandates applicable to private employers, the state of Florida enacted its own law significantly restricting—but not prohibiting—Florida private employers’ ability to impose vaccination mandates.  Here is a quic
Pandemic DOL FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions
Yet Another Update on Vaccination Mandates
dateNovember 18, 2021
Yes, we have yet another blog on the current status of the federal vaccination mandates.  Our previous blogs on this topic can be found here, here  and here. Here are some key updates and links to important resources. On Friday, November 12th, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, as we previously
Pandemic DOL FMLA OSHA
3 Federal Vaccination Mandates – Which One Applies to YOUR Business?
dateNovember 15, 2021
By now, you and most employers have heard about OSHA’s Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) which requires private employers with 100 employees or more to implement employee vaccination or weekly testing requirements by January 4, 2022.  Our updates on this can be found here
Pandemic OSHA
OSHA'S Vaccination/Testing ETS Temporarily Blocked by Court
dateNovember 08, 2021
On Friday, we sent out an update on OSHA’s Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) which requires private employers with 100 employees or more to implement employee vaccination or weekly testing requirements by January 4, 2022. This blog can be found here and the ETS is here. Sh
Pandemic OSHA
OSHA’S ETS IS HERE-NOW WHAT?
dateNovember 05, 2021
OSHA’s long-awaited Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) for private employers with 100 or more employees has arrived. The ETS, which can be found at Federal Register: COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard, requires the full vaccination (or the beginn
FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions
TRUE FMLA STORIES FROM RECENT COURT OPINIONS – THE FAQS: PART 2
dateNovember 03, 2021
In September, the Matrix compliance team presented a DMEC webinar, True FMLA Stories from Recent Court Decisions, which can be viewed here.  We received great questions from attendees during that webinar and answered some of them in a blog post last month.  Now we take on more questions raised by at
FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Paid Family and Medical Leave – An Update
dateOctober 29, 2021
Employers, Employees, Consultants, and Carriers are struggling to keep up with nationwide legislative updates and what it means to them. Join us for this checkpoint of where things stand and where they may be heading. Date and Time: Thursday, November 11th at 2:30 pm ET Host: Marti Cardi, Esq. VP, P
Domestic Violence/Safe Leave FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions
OCTOBER: NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH
dateOctober 20, 2021
In 1989, the U.S. Congress passed a law designating October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Despite increased awareness of this issue, the following statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence are troubling: More than 10 million adults experience domestic vio
Pandemic DOL EEOC FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Stay in the Know with Our Quarterly Compliance Webinars!
dateOctober 08, 2021
Compliance updates show no sign of slowing down, but you can keep up with our new webinar series, The Docket: The third quarter review of All Things Absence!  Although topics may change quarter to quarter, Matrix Absence Management Vice President Marti Cardi, Esq. together with her team Lana Rupprec
FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions
True FMLA Stories from Recent Court Opinions – The FAQs
dateOctober 04, 2021
On September 14 (has it been that long ago?), the Matrix compliance team presented True FMLA Stories from Recent Court Decisions as a DMEC webinar (Disability Management Employer Coalition).  And if you don’t know DMEC, you should – check them out at dmec.org.  And here’s good news: the On Demand re
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Washington D.C. Ups Its Game – Expansions to Universal Paid Leave and Employee Protections
dateSeptember 27, 2021
Sitting in the shadow of the controversy over whether the Feds will pass a paid family and medical leave program, the District of Columbia has not shied away from its own PFML program.  Two significant new laws (well really, a collection of laws) have expanded D.C.’s Universal Paid Leave (UPL) progr
FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions
True FMLA Stories from Recent Court Opinions
dateSeptember 07, 2021
Tuesday, September 14 | 12:00 pm ET When dealing with leaves of absence, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) statute sets the framework, while the regulations provide more detail, and the Department of Labor’s (DOL) opinion letters give us the government’s side of the story. But there’s more to
Domestic Violence/Safe Leave FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Missouri Offers Job-Protected Leave to Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence
dateAugust 23, 2021
Effective August 24, 2021, Missouri becomes the latest state to mandate job-protected leave of absence when an employee or a family or household member is a victim of domestic or sexual violence. With this law, Missouri joins California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Main
Pandemic DOL FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
A Mid-Summer Night's Reminder - New and Expanded Leave Laws for 2021-2022
dateAugust 10, 2021
Isn’t it weird how summer speeds up right after July 4th? We’re more than halfway through the dog days, and a lot has happened in the state and federal legislatures regarding paid and traditional leave laws. Who can keep track of it all? Who wants to? Spoiler alert: We can, and – like the governmen
ADA Pandemic DOL FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Stay in the know with our new quarterly compliance webinars!
dateJuly 19, 2021
Compliance updates show no sign of slowing down, but you can keep up with our new webinar series, The Docket: A Quarterly Review of All Things Absence! Although topics may change quarter to quarter, Matrix Absence Management Vice President Marti Cardi, Esq. will cover: Pending and recently pas
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
New Hampshire Passes a Paid Family and Medical Leave Law -- And It's A Different Animal!
dateJuly 06, 2021
New Hampshire has joined the PFML club but with a new kind of membership – a model we haven’t seen before in other states with statutory paid family and medical leave programs. Does the “Granite State Paid Family Leave Plan” represent the start of a new style of PFML programs, or is it just what you
FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions
A "Backwater Position" after FMLA Leave? Sorry, all things are not Equal (or Equivalent)
dateJune 02, 2021
The Family and Medical Leave Act requires employers to reinstate an employee to the same, or an equivalent, position following an approved leave. Often this means employers are left to wrestle with the question of what constitutes an “equivalent position” under the FMLA. A recent case from federal d
FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
"Can You Help Me Design a PFML Plan that Satisfies All State Requirements?" Part III in our Paid Family Leave Trilogy
dateMay 10, 2021
This is the third of a 3-part series on paid family and medical leave (PFML). Here are the prior posts: This is the third of a 3-part series on paid family and medical leave (PFML). Here are the prior posts: The FAMILY Act – Federal Paid Family and Medical Leave Coming Your Way? (Part II)
FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Paid Family & Medical Leave Updates: A Free Webinar
dateMay 03, 2021
If you’re a regular reader you know here at Matrix-Radar we spend a lot of time talking about Paid Family and Medical Leave. It’s not ‘cause we love it so much – honest! It’s because, week to week, there’s always something to talk about! If you’re ready for a valuable State of the State (and sometim
ADA FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions
Workers' Comp and FMLA – A Clash of Titans or Friends Holding Hands?
dateApril 20, 2021
Pop Quiz: Your employee is injured on the job. Is he covered by workers’ compensation the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) For those of you waiting for “D. Could be all of the above”, well done! *** A recent decision by the 11th Circui
FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
The FAMILY Act -- Federal Paid Family and Medical Leave Coming Your Way? (Paid Family and Medical Leave – Part II)
dateApril 12, 2021
In the legislative system, conflicting leave laws are considered especially heinous . . . [DHUNK DHUNK] OK, so paid family and medical leave is not as riveting as stories ripped from the headlines. Or is it? I mean, these are actual headlines, aren’t they? Or am I just a Superfan? This is the seco
ADA Pandemic OSHA
(Re)opening the Workplace – COVID-19 and the ADA
dateMarch 29, 2021
What is it they used to say BC (Before COVID-19)? In the Spring, a young heart turns to love? Or baseball? Something like that. But today we are faced with a new reality and, as the days get longer and vaccines enter arms by the thousands, many of us are a whole different kind of excited: It’s bac
Pandemic Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
California's New and Improved COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave -- Effective Real Soon!
dateMarch 25, 2021
Well, it’s déjà vu all over again!  On March 19, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB95, providing for a new bank of COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) and giving employers a whopping 10 days to understand its terms and be ready to offer it to employees.  The “effective date” is Marc
Pandemic FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Paid Family and Medical Leave – A Multi-State Morass, Part I: “If Only the Feds Would Act!”
dateMarch 24, 2021
mo·rassˊ an area of muddy or boggy ground a confused situation that has become so complicated it seems impossible to escape from or resolve This is the first of a 3-part series on paid family and medical leave (PFML). In the next few days watch for these additional posts:
Pandemic FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Furloughs and FMLA Ineligibility: An Unexpected Consequence
dateMarch 15, 2021
We’ve been getting a lot of questions lately concerning the impact of furloughs on employee FMLA eligibility. After all, COVID-19 related lockdowns started as early as a year ago – not an anniversary anyone likes to celebrate. And unfortunately, after lengthy furloughs, many long-time employees are
Pandemic FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
The American Rescue Plan: Paid Sick/Family Leave in 2021
dateMarch 12, 2021
OK, here’s fun stuff to talk about on a Friday. There’s no more football and I knew you would want this information to work with over the weekend, so…no need to thank me, I’m here to serve! The federal COVID relief bill, the American Rescue Plan Act, passed Congress (narrowly) and was signed by Pres
Pandemic DOL FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
5 Layers vs 5 Days - FMLA Procedures Under the Microscope in the Golden State
dateMarch 03, 2021
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that an operator of 2 California airports must make major changes to its FMLA processes after trampling on employee rights for I don’t know how long.  And I mean trampling!  I will be the first to admit that the Family and Medical Leave Act has many challenging
Pandemic Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Updates: Super Bowl LV and New York COVID-Related Paid Sick Leave
dateFebruary 09, 2021
Here’s a riddle for you:What do Super Bowl LV and COVID have in common?  I’m not sure – though if you’re a Chiefs fan I suppose both can seem like an unthinkable, undeserved cosmic spanking. Ah yes, the Super Bowl in COVID times: long gone are the raucous parties with lots of queso, Buffalo wings, y
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
California Employers, Look Out!! Possible Duty to Accommodate Employees who are “Associated with” an Individual with a Disability
dateJanuary 29, 2021
Associational discrimination?  What’s that, you ask?  It may soon be critical for California employers to understand this concept. Little-known and even less understood provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), protect employee
Pandemic FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
More COVID Paid Leave? Biden’s American Rescue Plan
dateJanuary 19, 2021
On January 14, 2021, President-Elect Biden announced his American Rescue Plan.  The Plan includes more employer-provided COVID-related paid leave.  If enacted, his plan would: Reinstate the FFCRA paid leave provisions and extend the requirements to all employers (expanding coverage from private
Pandemic DOL FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Kickstart for 2021 – An Update to Get the New Year Going
dateJanuary 04, 2021
Although there are still challenges ahead – there are always challenges – I think I speak for us all when I say I am happy to rip off that last page of the 2020 calendar and start with a brand new, fresh and hopeful 2021 model. Let’s look at a quick rundown of the latest developments in the world of
Pandemic Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
No Extension of FFCRA Paid Sick Leave/School Closure Leave; Tax Credit Extended for 3 Months
dateDecember 23, 2020
As of this writing, Congress has passed a new COVID-19 relief bill, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, but President Trump responded with a hissy fit and the threat of a veto.  However, the paltry tax credit extension discussed in this post has not been brought up for criticism and so is lik
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Colorado Paid Family and Medical Leave
dateDecember 14, 2020
For several years the Colorado legislature tried without success to pass paid family and medical leave legislation.  In 2020 the voters took matters into their own hands and voted in favor of a ballot initiative (Proposition 118) to create a PFML program.  PFML geeks may recall that in Massachusetts
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Time to Get a Grip on Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave!
dateNovember 30, 2020
Massachusetts PFML isn’t the only law bringing new consequences with the new year. Some parts of Connecticut PFML are also going into effect on January 1, 2021, and if you have even one Connecticut employee, you have things to do. We’ll provide you with a starter list here, but please register to
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Connecticut Joins the Paid Family and Medical Leave Club!
dateNovember 23, 2020
  On June 25 Governor Lamont made Connecticut the 9th U.S. jurisdiction to adopt a paid family and/or medical leave program.  As a reminder, here are the jurisdictions with paid leave programs and their status: California –in force Connecticut–JUST PASSED! Employee contributions start Janu
ADA Lawsuits/Court Opinions
“Tie-Breaker” Medical Exam for Employee in a Safety Sensitive Position Does Not Violate the ADA
dateNovember 09, 2020
A new case provides some great information for employers with employees in “safety sensitive” positions and their ability to require a medical exam. That case is Beal v. Muncie Sanitary District, available here. The Facts Ronald Beal worked in a Maintenance role for the Muncie Sanitary District.  H
Pandemic FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
COVID 19 and ADA Leaves of Absence
dateNovember 02, 2020
In the best of times employers struggle with employee requests for leave of absence as an ADA accommodation.  The incursion of COVID-19 has amplified the challenges.  But, the ADA is still the ADA and leave of absence continues to be an accommodation employers must consider if requested by an employ
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Merrily We Roll Along – Dip Your Oars Into this Multi-State PFML Update
dateOctober 26, 2020
Sometimes it does seem like we are sailing o’er the deep blue sea with all this PFML stuff – so many dangers and unknowns out there!  There have been several developments in the various state paid family and medical leave programs in recent months, and more are coming with the approach of the new ye
Pandemic FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Legislative Update: Expanding Leaves and Pandemic Coverage
dateSeptember 28, 2020
September has been quite the month for expanding leave benefits, both COVID-19 related and otherwise. Oregon has issued an administrative rule permanently allowing for sick child leave to be taken for school closures, California expanded coverage under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) as well
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Making Sausage – An Update on Connecticut Paid Family and Medical
dateSeptember 21, 2020
We have been closely following the progress – or sadly, the lack thereof – by the Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave Authority in the seemingly monumental task of launching the CT PFML program.  Employers of eligible employees in Connecticut will be required to begin deducting the employee co
ADA FMLA
How Long is Too Long? The Continuing Saga of Leave as an ADA Accommodation
dateSeptember 17, 2020
Back in July, we celebrated 30 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Yet employers still struggle with how long a leave of absence is reasonable as an accommodation.  Two recent employee-friendly cases from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals teach us that, in the 9th Circuit, at
Pandemic DOL FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
DOL Faces Off With The New York Federal Court – And We Have More FFCRA Guidance
dateSeptember 14, 2020
Those fun folks at the U.S. Department of Labor just LOVE releasing important information on a Friday!  I think it displays a cruel sense of humor – they get to relax and enjoy the waning days of summer over the weekend, while the rest of us in the absence management industry get to parse though the
Pandemic FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Back to School under the FFCRA – DOL Provides Just-In-Time Guidance
dateAugust 31, 2020
Schools in many parts of the country are back in session and more will be opening daily.  But “back to school” doesn’t look like it used to in most regions.  School districts are reopening with a wide gamut of approaches, including physically re-opening full time, remote learning only, and mixtures
Pandemic FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Employee Rights under FFCRA Expanded After New York Federal Court Ruling
dateAugust 06, 2020
As if figuring out all the coronavirus-related laws wasn’t difficult enough, we now have a court ruling that turns some of the FFCRA rules we thought we understood on their heads. On August 3 a federal court in New York struck down parts of the Department of Labor’s Families First Coronavirus Respo
ADA
Happy 30th Birthday ADA! Oh How You've Changed Over the Years!
dateJuly 24, 2020
The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush on July 26, 1990.  Here we’ll take a look back on how the ADA has evolved from its passage in 1990 to the present day. The pace of developments in the ADA and leave of absence world continues at such speed that
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Massachusetts Finalizes PFML Regulations
dateJuly 23, 2020
The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) has released its much-anticipated revised, final regulations for its Paid Family and Medical Leave program.  Employees will start receiving paid leave benefits on January 1, 2021.  Huh?  Much-anticipated regulations?  Well, that speaks
DOL FMLA
Friday Surprise! DOL Issues New Certification Forms and Seeks Comments on the Regulations
dateJuly 17, 2020
Really?  Couldn’t they have waited until Monday?  We knew these were coming and I guess the folks at the U.S. Department of Labor wanted to free up THEIR weekend.  Anyway, whining aside, this morning the DOL issued two important items:  New FMLA forms and a request for public input on the FMLA regul
ADA
ADA Practices & Pitfalls in Today’s Workplace – The Sequel!
dateJuly 16, 2020
There are precious few truths left in this world anymore.  Two that I think we can all agree on are;   The book is ALWAYS better than the movie and; The original is ALWAYS better than the sequel.   Well, we’re going to challenge on these two immutable truths this coming Thursday (July 23rd
Pandemic DOL FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
DOL Provides More Guidance on Kids’ Summer Programs and FFCRA Paid Leave
dateJune 30, 2020
On Friday we posted a legislative update covering the status of pending leave of absence bills throughout the states. This post comes right on the heels of that so if you didn't see it, just scroll down below this post or click here to check on happenings in the states where you do business. COVID
Pandemic FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Legislative Update – What’s Going on Besides Coronavirus
dateJune 26, 2020
Seems like in the past several weeks this blog has been consumed by COVID-19 news – almost every day, at some points.  And before that, it was mostly paid family and medical leave.  Well, the world isn’t all COVID-19 and PFML so we thought we’d take a look at the bigger picture of legislative activ
ADA DOL
ADA Practices & Pitfalls – a timely webinar!
dateJune 15, 2020
You know, some people vacation in the summer. Some work on their tans. Here at Matrix Radar, we like to dive in the deep end…of leave related compliance!Don’t judge us, you know you’re interested. Which brings us to our point:JOIN US for the first of a two part overview of the Americans with Disabil
Pandemic
COVID-19 and Workers’ Compensation
dateMay 27, 2020
Did you know that Matrix Absence Management administers workers’ compensation claims? We do and, in fact, workers’ comp was Matrix’s original line of business back in the day! Yet for all the COVID-19 coverage we have provided, this is a topic we haven’t covered yet. I’m not a workers’ compensation
Pandemic Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Tending to the Mass-es – and others!
dateMay 26, 2020
It’s been a long, cold Spring, what with COVID-19, quarantines and a plethora of related legislation to unpack. If there’s anything to help remind us that time – and regular, good old leave legislation – marches on, it’s the steady approach of Massachusetts PFML, with benefits starting in January, 2
ADA Pandemic FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Still Wrangling COVID-19 News – ERISA, ADA, FFCRA, and NY
dateMay 15, 2020
  Every time I think I can write about something other than COVID-19, along comes another new law, regulation, or interpretation that I want to share with you. The roundup seems to be getting smaller, but the rodeo ain’t over yet, pardner. Saddle up, ’cause here are the latest: ERISA Extensi
FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Ready for Regular Ol’ FMLA?
dateMay 12, 2020
So enough with the coronavirus already, right? Let’s get back to basics and one of the most challenging FMLA issues: employee abuse and misuse. On Thursday, May 21 at 12:00 Eastern/9:00 Pacific I will join Angie Brown, ClaimVantage Absence Practice Leader, in presenting a Disability Management Emplo
Pandemic FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Wrangling all that COVID-19 news – The Last (nope…) we mean NEXT Round-Up
dateApril 29, 2020
COVID news just keeps coming. In our last Roundup we covered the DOL’s latest FFCRA Q&As, USERRA and COVID-19, and orders from the governors of California and Washington. Today we saddle up with: More ADA guidance from the EEOC OSHA – employer obligations to provide a safe workplace COVID goes
Pandemic FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Wrangling All the COVID-19 News – The Latest Roundup
dateApril 28, 2020
As we all work to acclimate to the new normal that is the current COVID-19 world, state, local, and federal governments and agencies have been working tirelessly to respond to this unprecedented situation. Although we hope things will settle down soon, we have seen more developments in just the last
Pandemic Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
NEW JERSEY DEVELOPMENTS: ENHANCED LEAVE OF ABSENCE AND JOB PROTECTION UNDER NJ FLA TO CARE FOR FAMILY MEMBERS
dateApril 17, 2020
At Matrix and Reliance Standard, we have been tirelessly keeping up with the explosion of legislation that has been introduced and enacted to address COVID-19 related leaves of absence, disability plans, paid sick leave, and accommodations. We previously told you about New Jersey legislative
Pandemic Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
New York’s Emergency Paid Quarantine Leave for COVID-19 – An Update
dateApril 15, 2020
On March 18, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed emergency legislation guaranteeing job protection and pay for employees> affected by COVID-19 who are subject to mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation. The law was effective immediately.We originally posted a summary of the New York la
Pandemic DOL FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
What about ME? The plight of the 500+ employer group
dateApril 14, 2020
At Matrix and Reliance Standard we receive questions about COVID-19-related issues daily – no, hourly. Since the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), many of these questions have revolved around a big  issue for big(ger) employers: What about companies that have 500 or mor
Pandemic DOL EEOC FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
COVID Catch-Up: News from the DOL, CDC, and EEOC
dateApril 13, 2020
The best thing about the just-concluded long weekend is that it gave me a chance to catch up on the latest Coronavirus guidance issued by various entities. Top of the world, Ma! Here are 3 for today’s reading pleasure: COVID-19 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS: ROUND 4 FROM THE DOL The U.S. Department of Labor
Pandemic DOL FMLA
Whoopee! More FFCRA Guidance! DOL Issues Temporary Regulations
dateApril 03, 2020
Perhaps I shouldn’t be flippant, but seems like every other day brings more guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor on the new paid leave benefits available to many employees under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  Oh, wait, it doesn’t just seem like every other day…!But, the latest D
Pandemic DOL
And the Beat Goes On . . . IRS Info on the COVID-19 Tax Credit; DOL Issues Temporary Regulations
dateApril 02, 2020
And the beat goes on, the beat goes on Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain La de da de de, la de da de da* Sonny & Cher Bet that song will be in your brain all day now – you’re welcome!  We are getting pounded daily with new guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  H
Pandemic DOL
The DOL on a Roll – More FFRCA Q&As Issued
dateMarch 31, 2020
In the fast-paced COVID-19 world, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued more Questions and Answers about the Families First Corona Virus Reponses Act (FFCRA).  And not only are we now up to 59 questions (a good indicator of how tough it is to understand the FFCRA), but in the latest issue th
Pandemic DOL FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Jersey, sure: NJ Joins the COVID-19 Legislative Flurry
dateMarch 30, 2020
 On March 25 New Jersey’s governor signed Senate Bill 2304 that increases rights under several leave and benefits laws to address COVID-19 challenges for employees.  These changes were effective immediately.  Here’s a rundown: Author’s note: Pardon the cumbersome language, but the statutory language
Pandemic DOL Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Families First Coronavirus Response Act – Details, DOL and More, Oh My!
dateMarch 26, 2020
With record speed for a governmental agency, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a respectable amount of information to help employers understand the brand spankin’ new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) enacted on March 18.  Among other things, the Act: Expands the Family an
Pandemic DOL Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Families First Coronavirus Response Act – It’s Final and Here’s What It Requires
dateMarch 20, 2020
The President has signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act  (FFCRA), originally introduced in the House as H.R. 6201.  The final version is significantly scaled back from the original. There are still 2 significant sections related to employee absences: expansion of FMLA coverage for schoo
Pandemic DOL Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Coronavirus UPDATES Du Jour: Senate Passes and President Signs FMLA Expansion and Paid Sick Leave; State Paid Leave Laws – When & How Do They Apply?
dateMarch 19, 2020
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act In the past two days we have reported on the progress of House of Representatives Bill 6201 proposing expansions of the Family and Medical Leave Act and new paid sick leave requirements here and the House amendments here (or if you widely bookmarked Matrix
Pandemic DOL FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Coronavirus FMLA Update – (1) House Amends H.R. 6201; (2) Applying FMLA to COVID-19 to the Rest of the Employer World
dateMarch 17, 2020
Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed some amendments to its Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201, originally passed just days ago on March 14.  You can read my original blog post summarizing the leave-related aspects of the bill here.  The amended bill is expected to go t
Pandemic DOL FMLA Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Coronavirus: The FMLA Amendments and Paid Leave
dateMarch 16, 2020
Like many employers nationwide, Matrix Absence Management looks and sounds a lot like COVID Central these days. Which is to say, we are watching closely each development as it unfolds, and then – because we’re cool that way – trying to help you make sense of it in the context of employee absence and
ADA EEOC Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Coronavirus and the ADA – the EEOC Helps Out
dateMarch 03, 2020
 While there are countless articles online providing advice to employers about how to deal with the Coronavirus (now called COVID-19), here’s something that’s actually helpful: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has directed our attention to a technical assistance document to help un
FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions
In Loco Parentis and Non-Traditional Caregiving Relationships
dateFebruary 04, 2020
Recently, an Ohio federal district court heard a lawsuit filed by an Apple employee whose sister was terminally ill and claimed FMLA entitlement for his request to care for his nieces and nephews. The case, Brede v. Apple, involved a claim of FMLA interference and retaliation by a former Apple emplo
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
And Now . . . Washington D.C. PFML
dateJanuary 24, 2020
The next paid family and medical leave program to go live with payment of benefits – in the District of Columbia – is on the horizon.  D.C.’s Universal Paid Leave (UPL) program was passed in 2017, and employers with employees in the District started paying contributions to the program on July 1, 20
DOL EEOC FMLA Lawsuits/Court Opinions
A year in review, a year ahead: A look at the DOL and EEOC
dateJanuary 19, 2020
Last month we provided a 2019 review and 2020 look ahead regarding leave law legislation.  You can find that post here.  Now let’s look at what the enforcement agencies accomplished in 2019 and what to expect for 2020. Part 2:  DOL and EEOC Activities US DEPARTMENT OF LABOR UPDATE Opinion Letters Oc
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Washington PFML Employer Notices Now Available – and Other Developments
dateJanuary 04, 2020
PLEASE NOTE we had a few holiday technical difficulties here at Matrix-Radar, and this post was distributed in a timely fashion to Matrix clients through our account managers; but actual posting on the site was delayed. We believe we have resolved the issue and apologize for the delay! Hold on to yo
Family/Medical Leave (PFML) - Paid
Washington PFML – The New Mandatory Notice to Employees: What You Need to Know about UBI Numbers, Supplemental Benefits, and STD Benefits
dateJanuary 04, 2020
PLEASE NOTE we had a few holiday technical difficulties here at Matrix-Radar, and this post was distributed in a timely fashion to Matrix clients through our account managers; but actual posting on the site was delayed. We believe we have resolved the issue and apologize for the delay!   On about De
A year in review, a year ahead: A whole lotta stuff going on!
dateDecember 19, 2019
Take a deep breath and let’s review what happened in 2019, and what’s coming in 2020. First we will look at legislative activity. In another post we will check in with our favorite federal agencies, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor.    Part 1 – Legislative Acti
Hello Again, Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave
dateDecember 03, 2019
Here it comes!  Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits are on the horizon, starting January 1.  While we’ve been a bit quiet about WA PFML on this blog lately, we’ve been busy in the background.  So has the state Employment Security Department (ESD) which is charged with administering the
Keeping up with California – 2019 Legislative Recap
dateNovember 22, 2019
California employers perennially face challenges keeping up with the Golden State’s legislative developments, and the 2019 legislative session was certainly no exception! At Matrix Absence Management we monitor pending and enacted legislation to assist our clients in preparing for those developments
Excess FMLA Absences: An Employer Success Story
dateNovember 13, 2019
What can an employer do when an employee takes intermittent FMLA leave in excess of the frequency and duration authorized by the health care provider’s certification?  In a good case for employers, one court has explicitly upheld disciplinary measures taken when an employee exceeded her approved abs
ADA Alert:  The EEOC is Alive and Kicking
dateOctober 22, 2019
And sadly, so are disability and pregnancy discrimination. I receive press releases from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission several times each week.  Most of them trumpet new lawsuits filed by the agency or settlements reached with employers it previously sued.  Every year there are some wh
CALIFORNIA EXTENDS ITS ORGAN DONOR LEAVE LAW
dateOctober 09, 2019
As our faithful readers know, we at Matrix Radar monitor state leave and accommodation law developments.  We have noticed that, in addition to the proliferation of state paid family leave laws, state legislatures have primarily focused on organ donation, leave for victims of domestic violence, and p
New York Adds Leave Law for Victims of Domestic Violence
dateSeptember 30, 2019
Effective November 18, 2019, New York employers with 4 or more employees must provide reasonable leave to employees who are victims of domestic violence.  With this law New York joins a growing number of jurisdictions that provide job-protected leave of absence and other accommodations to employees
FMLA and Employee Dual-Notice Procedures – Stand Your Ground but Be Clear about Your Policies
dateSeptember 16, 2019
  QUESTION:  Can an employer require an employee taking FMLA leave to report absences to both a supervisor and a leave administrator? ANSWER:  It depends – but probably yes.  Read on!   The Issue Employers are struggling with the trend in rising  employment time off benefits caused by the nume
Massachusetts PFML Update – Now What’s Going On?
dateAugust 27, 2019
There are lots of moving parts in Massachusetts these days, as we get closer to implementation of the commonwealth’s paid family and medical leave (PFML) law. Over time we have published several articles on Massachusetts PFML:  You can take a look back at our overall summary and periodic development
The DOL Gets Busy – New Opinion Letter, New Draft FMLA Cert Forms!
dateAugust 13, 2019
The Department of Labor rolled out two new developments last week just in time to leave for August vacations:  First, a new opinion letter addressing whether FMLA covers time taken for specialized child educational meetings; and second, drafts of new (and improved) FMLA certification forms for publi
Oregon Becomes the 10th (9th?) State to Enact Paid Family and/or Medical Leave Legislation
dateAugust 07, 2019
It’s getting hard to come up with creative captions for articles about these new state paid family and medical leave laws.  And darn it, can we say Oregon is the 10th state when one of the jurisdictions counted is the District of Columbia? Well that’s my rule and I’m stickin’ to it. You can see our
FMLA 2nd and 3rd Opinion Process: A powerful tool to manage intermittent FMLA
dateJuly 29, 2019
Readers of DMEC @Work Magazine know I have been writing a series of articles on recommended best practices using the 2nd and 3rd opinion process to manage intermittent FMLA leave.  Readers of this blog who have not read my articles (tsk tsk…as if!), well you are in luck because today’s blog post wil
Accommodation Delayed is Not (Necessarily) Accommodation Denied
dateJuly 25, 2019
 “This is a case about a civil servant’s dissatisfaction with the government’s sluggishness in accommodating her disability. While delay is no doubt frustrating, it is not, in this case, unlawful.” So starts the opinion in Weatherspoon v. Price, a case decided recently by the federal court in the Di
OREGON JUMPS ON THE BANDWAGON – NEW PROTECTIONS FOR PREGNANT EMPLOYEES
dateJune 27, 2019
Oregon has passed a law requiring employers with 6 or more employees to grant reasonable accommodations, absent undue hardship, to employees and applicants with known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. The law is effective January 1, 2020.Here is a summary of
Stop the Presses (Again): Massachusetts PFML Final Regulations and Bond Form have arrived
dateJune 25, 2019
Last week the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave issued the final PFML regulations AND the form for the bond required of self-funded private plans.  Here’s the rundown on both.  With the 3-month delay (see our last blog post here) and these 2 developments, I’m hoping things will be
Massachusetts Passes Lightning Bill to Delay Some PFML Dates--AND, the Final Regulations are Here!
dateJune 19, 2019
In a coordinated move so fast it makes your head spin, the Massachusetts governor and legislature have passed the promised bill to delay by 3 months the start of employer and employee contributions to the paid family and medical leave program, to October 1. The bill, MA S 2255, brings about some oth
Massachusetts Announces Likely 3-Month Delay in Collecting PFML Premium Contributions
dateJune 12, 2019
Vast amounts of uncertainty and unanswered questions surround the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave program.  The law currently provides that employers participating in the plan administered by the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) must start withholding contribut
KENTUCKY PASSES LAW REQUIRING REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS FOR PREGNANT EMPLOYEES
dateMay 14, 2019
On April 9, 2019, the Governor of Kentucky signed Senate Bill 18, making it the latest state to pass legislation requiring employers, absent undue hardship, to grant reasonable accommodation(s) to employees with “limitations” as a result of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. The Ke
Good News for Massachusetts Employers – A Delay of Pending Deadlines (and a Word on Taxes)
dateMay 02, 2019
That’s right, yet another Massachusetts paid family and medical leave update! Today’s news will be welcomed by Massachusetts employers, especially those considering whether to adopt a private plan rather than use the state program.  Let’s be honest, though – it’s only good news because it backs off
Massachusetts Announces PFML Private Plan Bond Requirements
dateApril 30, 2019
It seems like just yesterday (it was!) that we reported on significant new information and resources from the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave that were released on Friday.  No sooner was our article posted when more news came from DFML:  Details on the private plan bond requirem
Hot Off the Presses: Yet Another MASS-ive Update!
dateApril 29, 2019
I had just exhaled after presenting our Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) webinars on April 23-24when the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave unleashed a barrage of new information, guidance, and resources.  You may have heard my plaintive cry, “Make it stop!” But i
More MASS-ive Developments That You Need to Know (and DO) Now
dateApril 24, 2019
As you well know, employees and employers are responsible for contributions to the Massachusetts Family and Employment Security Trust Fund starting July 1, 2019.  On April 23 and 24, Yours Truly presented webinars on the current status of Massachusetts paid family and medical leave and what you need
Washington PFML Developments Keep Us Hopping
dateApril 08, 2019
April 8, 2019Despite my recent advice to Washington employers to “sit back and relax,” I now have to say: Don’t get too comfortable with all things Washington PFML.  Although employers have been required to withhold premium contributions from employee paychecks (or waive such withholding) since Janu
Falsified FMLA Certifications? Employer Doesn’t Have to be Inspector Clouseau to Support Honest Belief Defense!
dateApril 02, 2019
Marion Egler was employed as a Reservations Agent for American Airlines.  From 2006 through 2013, she applied and was approved for, FMLA on thirty-four separate occasions.  In November and December 2014, Egler submitted four certification forms for continuous blocks of time that appeared to have bee
MASS-ive developments in Paid Family Medical Leave law
dateMarch 21, 2019
Big dates are ahead in Massachusetts relating to its paid family and medical leave program.  The Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) has announced two key developments:Massachusetts PFML regulations. The second draft of the PFML regulations will be issued on March 29.  You may recall that
DOL to Employers: If it’s FMLA, it’s FMLA. If it’s not, it’s not.
dateMarch 18, 2019
There is joy in my blessed li’l FMLA heart.  The US Department of Labor has issued a much-needed Opinion Letter addressing whether an employer or employee can elect not to apply the FMLA to a leave for an FMLA-qualifying event.  Spoiler alert:  The answer is NO. This has never seemed like a gray are
Sit back and relax! Washington PFML reporting and payments to the state delayed by 3 months.
dateMarch 14, 2019
We know employers have been on the edge of their seats wondering when and how they can begin their required Washington paid family and medical leave reporting for Q1 slated for April 1-30.Well, calm yourself. The state just announced that first quarter employer reporting is being delayed until July
Spice up your compliance with 50 Shades of FMLA!
dateMarch 04, 2019
Are you struggling to manage FMLA gray areas such as intermittent leave or suspicious leave requests from employees?The 2019 DMEC FMLA/ADA Employer Compliance Conference, May 6-9, in Portland, OR, is the place to find answers and solutions that help you minimize risk in your organization and ensure
New Jersey Forges Ahead with Increased Paid Family Leave Benefits and Job Protections
dateFebruary 27, 2019
As the first state to enact a mandated paid family leave law in 2009, New Jersey was the leader in this now-burgeoning field.   Currently, there are 4 states with PFL laws (CA, NJ, NY, RI), 3 more jurisdictions with new laws in the process of being implemented (DC, MA, WA), and 22 states (and counti
Massachusetts PFML Again – But Not Yet
dateFebruary 14, 2019
In our last blog post about Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (MA PFML), we boldly announced we would be holding Session 2 of our webinars on the law soon, targeting late February.  Well, it turns out that the draft regulations issued on January 23 by the Massachusetts Department of Family
Massachusetts PFML Rolls Forward – Draft Regulations Released!
dateJanuary 25, 2019
You know you are a compliance geek when the bright spot of your week is the release of new leave law regulations!  Yes, I’m guilty as charged – but I know I’m not alone.  Here’s the scoop:On January 23 the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) released draft regulations that st
Ladies and Gentlemen, Start your Engines! State Paid Family and Medical Leave Legislation for 2019 is Here
dateJanuary 03, 2019
Even before Baby New Year needs a diaper change, New Hampshire is first out of the gate with a redux of its 2018 paid family and medical leave (PFML) bill.  A copy of the 2019 version text is not yet available but it is believed to be exactly the same as the 2018 version. In 2018 no fewer than 20 st
Matrix Compliance Experts Take the Stage!
dateDecember 11, 2018
Matrix’s Gail Cohen Co-Presents with EEOC Counsel at DMEC WebinarBy Gail Cohen, Director, Employment Law/ComplianceI had the privilege of presenting last week with Chris Kuczynski, Assistant Legal Counsel of the EEOC in Washington D.C. on “EEOC Insights into What Employers Still Get Wrong about the
WASHINGTON STATE PAID FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE MOVES FORWARD STEP BY STEP
dateNovember 13, 2018
Employer Action Items and ResourcesWashington paid family and medical leave is coming (PFML). Although leaves and benefits aren’t available until January 1, 2020, employers have decisions to make before employer and employee premium contributions start in January 2019. You can read our prior blog po
NEW YORK ADDS ORGAN DONATION TO STATE PAID FAMILY LEAVE REASONS
dateNovember 12, 2018
Last month we addressed some leave of absence bills pending in various state legislatures.  New York’s governor has signed one of these bills into law, adding organ and tissue donation to the definition of “serious health condition” under the New York Paid Family Leave law (NY PFL). Specifically, a
MATRIX AND EEOC TO PRESENT AT DMEC ADA WEBINAR: The EEOC Weighs in on What Employers Still Get Wrong About the ADA
dateNovember 09, 2018
I am pleased to announce that Matrix will be presenting at an upcoming DMEC webinar on December 6, 2018.  Our co-presenter will be Chris Kuczynski, Assistant Legal Counsel and Director of the ADA/GINA Policy Division of the EEOC.  The webinar, “The EEOC Weighs in on What Employers Still Get Wrong Ab
STATE LEAVE LAW UPDATES – WHAT’S HAPPENING IN YOUR NECK OF THE WOODS?
dateOctober 22, 2018
California – New leave reason under paid family leaveCalifornia’s paid family leave law (CA PFL) provides up to 6 weeks of paid (but not job protected) leave of absence for family reasons. Current bases for which an employee can receive paid benefits include caring for a family member with a serious
Feds Issue Guidance on Tax Credit for Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits – and a Possible Extension?
dateSeptember 25, 2018
On September 24, 2018, the federal Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Tax Exempt and Government Entities) issued a Notice providing guidance on the employer tax credit for paid family and medical leave under §45S of the Internal Revenue Code.  Notice 2018-71 does not have the force of regulations wh
Washington State PFML: Open for Business on Voluntary Plans; Proposed Phase Three Rules Released
dateSeptember 17, 2018
I wish I could receive Frequent Flyer miles for all the “trips” I am making back and forth between the East and West Coasts, covering developments in state paid family and medical leave programs. The most recent news is 2 tidbits from Washington State. Voluntary Plans Now Being Accepted.  All emplo
DOL issues New “Safe Harbor” FMLA Certifications
dateSeptember 05, 2018
The Department of Labor recently issued updated versions of certifications employers can use when employees ask for FMLA leave. The new certifications are in effect until August 31, 2021. However, only the expiration date has changed. The older forms with an expired date are still fully compliant wi
Meanwhile, Back in New York  . . .  Increases in PFL Benefits, Durations, and Premiums
dateSeptember 05, 2018
Here we are, 8 months into the first year of paid family leave in the state of New York.  My attention, and that of many employers, has been diverted somewhat to the upcoming paid family and medical leave law enacted by the state of Washington, with premium collections beginning in January 2019. (Fo
New DOL FMLA Opinion Letters – Organ Donation and No-Fault Attendance Policies
dateAugust 31, 2018
Occasionally the U.S. Department of Labor issues opinion letters as a means of providing interpretive guidance on the FMLA. An opinion letter is an official, written opinion by the Wage and Hour Division of how a particular law applies in specific circumstances presented by an employer, employee, or
Bring it On – Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave!
dateAugust 23, 2018
Reliance Standard and Matrix are planning a series of Webinars to keep you up to date on this topic. The first series will be August 28 and 29, 2018 @ 11:00 am PDT / 2:00 pm EDT and will be hosted by Marti Cardi, Vice President Product Compliance, Dave Lea, West Coast Regional Practice Leader and Ch
The Work/Life Squeeze – Focus on Caregiver Leaves
dateAugust 06, 2018
It is not often that trends in life, legal issues, and employment practices coincide, but we are in that situation now.  Increasing numbers of employees have caregiver responsibilities for family members – children, elderly parents, family members with health needs, and others. The legal protections
The Essence of Parental Leaves – Treating Fathers Differently Costs Estée Lauder $1.1 Million and Much More
dateJuly 26, 2018
Perfume and cosmetics giant Estée Lauder has agreed to pay $1.1 million to a class of male employees who received less bonding leave and less return to work job flexibility than their female counterparts.  Under its prior policy, men received just 2 weeks of parental leave to bond with a new child. 
An ADA Tale of Vaccine Exemptions, Employer Notice, and the Interactive Process
dateJuly 16, 2018
A recent case involving controversy about mandatory vaccines teaches two ADA lessons:A doctor’s note may be sufficient notice to an employer of a disability andaccommodation request.If you do something for nondisabled employees, don’t deny the same thing forsomeone with a disability.Aleka Ruggiero w
Hawaii Enacts Law to Require Analysis for Paid Family Leave
dateJuly 13, 2018
Hawaii is moving closer to a paid family leave program with legislation signed by the Governor on July 5.  The law does not enact a PFL law but requires the state Legislative Reference Bureau to conduct an analysis to assist the legislature in determining the most appropriate framework or model for
California Updates Its Paid Family Leave Law with a Clean-Up Bill
dateJuly 12, 2018
NOTE TO READERS:  This topic was originally addressed in this blog on July 12, 2018.  That post sparked some questions about the California Paid Family Leave program that make it appropriate to issue this revised article.  The content of the original post was accurate but is now supplemented with ad
Undue hardship?  You’d better really mean it.
dateJuly 05, 2018
An employer was recently caught “crying wolf” with regard to a claim of undue hardship.  The result?  The employer will have to prove in a jury trial that its assertion was not a pretext for disability discrimination in violation of the ADA. Accommodation basics.  An employer must provide an ADA acc
A “Grand Bargain” – Massachusetts Enacts Paid Medical and Family Leave
dateJune 29, 2018
Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill on June 28 making Massachusetts the seventh jurisdiction to enact paid family and medical leave (PFML).  The paid leave provisions are part of a so-called Grand Bargain between the state legislature and voters that was designed to keep several voter initiatives o
Matrix’s Gail Cohen on ADA Panel at EEOC Regional Meeting
dateJune 25, 2018
Many of you know my colleague, Gail Cohen, an attorney who works closely with me at Matrix and assists our clients, consultants, and others with ADA and leave of absence issues.  Gail recently participated in a panel presentation on the ADA – specifically accommodations and the interactive process –
Colorado Passes Living Donor Leave Act
dateJune 21, 2018
Tax credits to reward good employer policies?  Offering tax credits to encourage paid leaves of absence is cropping up more often recently.  The federal government included a tax incentive in the December 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for employers providing from 2 to 12 weeks of paid family and medica
South Carolina Enacts Pregnancy Accommodations Law
dateJune 18, 2018
South Carolina has joined a legion of other states by passing a law that provides workplace protections and accommodations for women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, including lactation.  Each state puts its own stamp of originality on the provisions of such laws, b
Vermont Crime Victims Leave Law About to Debut
dateJune 13, 2018
Many states require employers to allow employees to take time off from work for court proceedings in which they are a victim or witness.  Most of these laws are very general and do not provide duration, notice or documentation requirements, or other parameters that are the hallmarks of what we no
Washington State Issues First Phase of Paid Family and Medical Leave Regulations
dateJune 05, 2018
In 2017 Washington State was the fifth state to pass a paid family and medical leave law. The law requires employers to provide up to 18 weeks of paid, job-protected leave per 52-week period due to the employee’s own serious health condition, to bond with a new child, to care for a family member wit
“Because I Said So!” – Following the FMLA Late Certification Rule
dateMay 11, 2018
Employers now know that they have to follow FMLA regulations “because I said so!”  That was the declaration from Helen Applewhaite, DOL Branch Chief for FMLA, in a moment of levity when I asked why employers had to follow a particular FMLA regulation that I called “nonsensical” and another person ca
USERRA – A Leave Law Like No Other – Part 2
dateApril 25, 2018
Our most recent blog post started our review of USERRA – the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.  The requirements of USERRA are surprising compared to other leave laws, but the men and women who have served in the military have earned these job protections.  So although we ma
Don't Miss It: THE 2018 DMEC FMLA/ADA EMPLOYER COMPLIANCE CONFERENCE
dateApril 24, 2018
Join your peers and prepare to confidently tackle your organization’s FMLA/ADA challenges at the 2018 DMEC FMLA/ADA Employer Compliance Conference, Apr. 30-May 3, in Orlando!This year, Matrix Absence Management is a National Sponsor and I have the privilege of facilitating four sessions! I would lov
USERRA - A Leave Law Like No Other
dateApril 04, 2018
One of my favorite leave law training topics for employers is USERRA – the Uniformed Services Employment  and Reemployment Rights Act.  As the name implies, this is the law that provides job protections for employees who are absent from work to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force,
Washington State Amends Its Personal Protection Leave Law
dateMarch 19, 2018
We previously blogged about the rise in the number of state laws protecting victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or similar personal crimes.  Such laws typically prohibit employment discrimination against victims and provide leaves of absence for an employee who is a victim or who
Just when you thought you might be getting the hang of New York Paid Family Leave...
dateMarch 12, 2018
The New York state legislature introduced a bill proposing to expand the coverage of paid leave.  See NY S 7723.  As with so much of the NY PFL law and regulations, the proposed bill – if enacted as is – will add more complications and conflicts.  Here’s what is in the bill: PROVISIONCOMMENTS – IF P
The FMLA is 25!
dateFebruary 02, 2018
Happy Birthday!  Monday February 5 marks 25 years since the Family and Medical Leave Act was signed into law.  I was in private practice when the law passed, and I recall an associate with our law firm presented a summary of the new law.  My thought was, “This will never amount to anything.”  So muc
Reassignment as an ADA Accommodation: To Compete or Not to Compete?
dateFebruary 01, 2018
Good news for employers: Depending where your employees are located, you might not have to grant reassignment without competition as a reasonable ADA accommodation.As we administer our ADA management services, we frequently get questions about the employer’s obligation to reassign an employee to a v
And Now There are Nine – Maryland Passes Paid Sick and Safe Leave
dateJanuary 18, 2018
On January 12, 2018, Maryland became the ninth state to require employers to provide paid sick and safe leave to employees (joining Arizona, Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, Washington DC and Washington State). The Healthy Working Families Act (“HWFA”) has had a tortured legi
DOL Announces ERISA Disability Claims Handling Rules Will Go into Effect AS IS on April 1, 2018
dateJanuary 08, 2018
On Friday, January 5, 2018, the U.S. Department of labor issued a press release announcing that the Final Rule amending the regulations governing claims handling procedures for ERISA disability claims will go into effect on April 1, 2018, without changes from the original.  The Final Rule was origin
The Needle in the Tax Bill Haystack – A Paid Family & Medical Leave Tax Credit
dateJanuary 04, 2018
 One might think that the Trump administration would trumpet (ahem . . . ) the supposed family-friendly and employer-friendly provisions of the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  Not so.  A little-publicized provision of the new Act establishes a tax credit for employers who provide paid family and/or medi
Mental Stability & ADA Evaluations - Part 2: "Regarded As" Liability
dateDecember 26, 2017
This is our second entry in this series of 3 blog posts on mental examinations and the Americans with Disabilities Act.  For the first article, discussing ADA mental examinations and the employer’s obligation to provide a safe workplace, click here.Our second case study poses the question, can an em
Mental Stability & ADA Evaluations—Part 1: Safety
dateDecember 14, 2017
Consider this situation:  Your employee Melvin is exhibiting alarming behavior – aggressive interactionswith coworkers, loud banging of drawers and doors, unfounded suspicions of surveillance, incomprehensible mumbling or rants.  Melvin has not asked for time off or any sort of workplace accommodati
DOL Announces 90-Day Delay of ERISA Disability Claims Rules Change
dateNovember 27, 2017
On Friday the U.S. Department of Labor today announced a 90-day delay – from January 1 to April 1, 2018 – of the applicability date for ERISA plans to comply with the December 16, 2016, “Final Rule” amending the claims procedure requirements applicable to disability benefits.  As explained below, fu
New York Makes Paid Family Leave “Notice to Employees” Available
dateNovember 14, 2017
Section 380-7.2.e. of the New York Paid Family Leave law requires employers to post a notice to employees of their rights under the law:Every covered employer must display or post, and keep posted, a typewritten or printed notice concerning PFL in a form prescribed by the Chair.  The notice must be
Federal Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence Proposed in US House and Senate
dateNovember 09, 2017
Identical bills that propose significant leave of absence rights and job protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking were introduced simultaneously in the US Senate and House of Representatives on October 31, 2017.  If passed, the bills (S 2043 and H 4
More ERISA: Update on the DOL’s Proposed Delay of the Disability Claims Handling Rules
dateNovember 03, 2017
Hello, all you ERISA folks.  How many of you are losing sleep over the new ERISA rules for disability claims handling?  As we previously discussed here, the DOL has proposed delaying the effective date of these rules (the “Final Rule”), which are currently scheduled to go into effect for claims fil
The Headless Horseman – An ADA Halloween Tale
dateOctober 31, 2017
Business was great and Ichabod decided to expand his company, Crane’s Daylight Deliveries, to include Midnight Messengers.  Tired of whiling away his nighttime hours as a ghoul, Harry the Headless Horseman applied for a night messenger position with Crane’s – dropping off his résumé at midnight, of
Lucky Employer Skates on ADA Liability: Complaints about Noisy Workplace Not Enough to Put Employer on Notice of Need for ADA Accommodation.
dateOctober 30, 2017
Despite the common feeling that employers have the ADA deck stacked against them, a recent case shows that courts will still closely compare the facts of an ADA failure to accommodate claims against the legally required elements of such a claim.  It was a close call, but the co-employers prevailed w
California Expands CFRA Bonding Leave Coverage
dateOctober 18, 2017
California has enacted the New Parent Leave Act to amend the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).  Effective January 1, 2018, employers with 20 or more employees will be required to provide 12 weeks of leave for bonding following the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child.  To be eligible,
New York Releases Application and Certification Forms for Paid Family Leave
dateOctober 18, 2017
They’re out!  The long-awaited, much anticipated application and certification forms for New York Paid Family Leave (NY PFL) have been posted on the NY PFL website HERE!  I have reviewed the forms quickly but there is much to absorb and ponder.  Such as, how many claims management systems will be ab
DOL Proposes to Delay the Effective Date of ERISA Disability Claims Handling Rules and Seeks More Public Comment
dateOctober 10, 2017
 It’s a moving target, but we’re watching!  The amended ERISA disability claims handling rules  (the “Final Rule”) are set to go into effect for claims filed on or after January 1, 2018.  But, as we previously reported, the US Department of Labor announced in July that it is “reviewing these amendme
New York Releases First Wave of Paid Family Leave Forms
dateOctober 06, 2017
 In something of a stealth move, the New York Workers’ Compensation Board has released three forms for employers’ use in administering and complying with the Paid Family Leave Law that provides benefits starting January 1, 2018.  Those of us who check the NY PFL website daily and are signed up for n
Rhode Island Joins the Paid Sick and Safe Leave Bandwagon
dateOctober 05, 2017
Rhode Island has joined the plethora of states that have passed paid sick and safe leave legislation for the state’s workers. The Rhode Island “Healthy and Safe Families Workplace Act” (H5413/S290) was signed into law by the Governor on September 28, 2017. The basics. Effective July 1, 2018, Rhode I
Pushing Back on the "Inadvertent Leave Law" - Court Rules that a Multi-Month Leave of Absence is not a Reasonable ADA Accommodation
dateSeptember 26, 2017
“How long of a leave of absence do I have to grant as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act?”I get this question frequently.  I have long advised that employers must consider a new or extended leave of absence as a possible accommodation.  In assessing an employee’s ADA leave re
A Lesson in FMLA Damages: FMLA Retaliation in Layoff Costs Verizon Big Money
dateSeptember 20, 2017
Employers, when was the last time you asked the question “What could an FMLA suit potentially cost?” For Verizon, the answer was “a lot,” including a judgement that awarded $800,000+ to a former employee as well as:    Substantial attorneys’ fees and costs (almost always more than the fees incurred
Tax Implications of New York Paid Family Leave Addressed
dateAugust 28, 2017
 The state of New York has released much-needed guidance on the tax implications of employee premium contributions and benefits under the state’s new Paid Family Leave (PFL), slated to go into effect on January 1, 2018.  According to the New York Department of Taxation and Finance:Benefits paid to e
DOL Announces it will Review ERISA Claims Disability Handling Rules Slated for 1/1/2018
dateAugust 03, 2017
 As we all know, the ERISA disability claims handling rules were revised by the US Department of Labor, to be effective for claims filed on or after January 1, 2018.  As part of the ever-changing governmental landscape under our current President, the DOL has now announced it is “reviewing these ame
Massachusetts Enacts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
dateJuly 31, 2017
 The move toward significant workplace protections for pregnant employees continues state by state.  On July 27, 2017, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed House Bill 3680 establishing the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.Massachusetts joins 15 other states and Washington, D.C. wit
New York Paid Family Leave – Final Regulations Out but No Surprises
dateJuly 20, 2017
On July 19, the New York Workers’ Compensation Board issued its final regulations in support of the state’s Paid Family Leave law (NY PFL), which requires employers to provide paid leave benefits to employees starting January 1, 2018.  The final regulations follow a public comment period on the prop
Hawaii adds siblings as a covered relationship for family leave
dateJuly 13, 2017
   On July 10, 2017, the governor of Hawaii signed an amendment to the state’s family leave law, adding siblings as a family member for whom an employee can take leave.  The amendment took effect immediately.Under the Hawaii law, employees who have worked for an employer for at least 6 consecutive m
Leave rights for victims of domestic violence:  Growing need,  multi-state trend
dateJuly 13, 2017
& Gail Cohen, Director-Employment Law/Compliance If you don’t think you need to know about state leave laws that protect victims of domestic violence and similar crimes, consider this:More than 27% of women and 11% of men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking b
Ten Years Later, Washington State Makes Its Paid Family Leave Dream a Reality
dateJuly 06, 2017
The state of Washington has enacted a law requiring paid family and medical leave for eligible employees.  The state was on the forefront of the paid family leave movement when it passed a paid parental leave law in 2007, but the law never went into effect because the legislature was unable to fund
Welcome Back, FMLA Opinion Letters: A Good Move by the DOL
dateJuly 05, 2017
One of the challenges of administering leaves under the Family and Medical Leave Act is dealing with issues not well addressed by the law and the regulations – and there are many.  How long can an employer rely on an FMLA third opinion certificate?  How does an employer deal with an employee’s fluct
FMLA Breaking News – DOL Withdraws 2016 Broad Interpretation on Joint Employment
dateJune 07, 2017
Many employers might be in a joint employment relationship with a business partner and not realize it.  Joint employment can create or increase employer liability under the FMLA.On January 20, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released an Administrator’s Interpretation 2016-1 (AI) on the resp
NEW YORK HONING IN: Paid Family Leave Revised Regulations are Out, but Still Not Final
dateMay 29, 2017
The New York Workers’ Compensation Board has issued revised regulations interpreting and supporting the state’s Paid Family Leave law that will start providing employees with pay benefits on January 1, 2018.  This revised version of the regulations, published on May 24, 2017, is still not final.  Th
High Points in Recent FMLA Case Law
dateMay 11, 2017
Last week I had the distinct pleasure of co-presenting one of the opening general sessions at the Disability Management Employer Coalition Compliance Conference with my buddy and fellow blogger, Jeff Nowak. Those of you who know Jeff and me will understand sharing the stage with him is tough duty: H
ADA Views – Direct from the EEOC!
dateMay 08, 2017
Q:   What do attendance, a deaf lifeguard, and an “accidental leave law” have in common?A:    They are all topics addressed by an EEOC representative at Matrix’s recent Client Advisory Board meeting.Pierce Blue is Attorney-Advisor to EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum.  We invited Pierce to a meeting o
Walking the walk on service dogs in the workplace
dateApril 12, 2017
Bradley Arndt v. Ford Motor Company, 2017 WL 1196442 (E.D. Michigan March 29, 2017)If you’ve been in a shopping center or an airport lately then you know that the prevalence of service dogs is on the increase (I love those vests!).  For employers, however, there are still many challenges in addressi
Don’t Forget About Accommodation Obligations during the Application Process – The EEOC is On It!
dateMarch 24, 2017
& Marti Cardi, VP-Product ComplianceIt appears the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has added a new focus to its enforcement efforts.  In its latest Strategic Enforcement Plan, the EEOC announced that one of its national priorities is for “the Commission to address . . .  issues involving hir
New York Paid Family Leave – Proposed Regulations Announced
dateMarch 02, 2017
The New York Paid Family Leave act goes into effect on January 1, 2018.  This law provides both job protection similar to the FMLA, and also provides a pay benefit to employees during covered leaves of absence.  Now, New York Governor Cuomo has announced that the proposed regulations in support of t
Pregnancy Issues Continue to Expand: Company Fired Pregnant Employee For Her Own Good
dateFebruary 17, 2017
Enforcement and legislative attention continue to increase around pregnant employees and pregnancy-related conditions in the workplace.  The message to employers?  Treat a pregnant employee poorly – or differently – at your peril.  Rooms to Go learned this lesson recently, even though the pregnant e
Paid Parental Leave 2017:  It’s Not Your Mama’s Maternity Leave
dateJanuary 31, 2017
We’ve all seen the headlines over the past two years:  “XYZ Company Adopts Expansive Paid Parental Leave Policy.”  News coverage of paid parental leave (PPL) increased tremendously in 2015-2016 over prior years, fueled by the numerous PPL implementations by big-name companies.Key questions that aris
A Game Changer: DOL Releases New ERISA Disability Claims Rules
dateJanuary 04, 2017
Claimants under ERISA disability plans will soon have a better chance to understand and contest any denial of disability benefits.  After years of litigation flowing from disability benefits denials, the U.S. Department of Labor decided it was necessary to re-examine the ERISA regulations governing
EEOC Heightens Focus on Mental Health and the Workplace with New Employee Q&A
dateDecember 14, 2016
At Matrix Absence Management, we are seeing an increase in workplace accommodation requests due to mental health impairments, including modified work schedules and work-from-home arrangements.   The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has long focused on mental health impairments in the wor
NEW!  San Francisco Issues Draft Rules for Paid Parental Leave
dateNovember 23, 2016
For those readers who do not have California employees, I have 2 things to say:  First, lucky you!  Second, hang in there with me – I promise some non-California blog posts in the near future.  Late on Friday, November 18, the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) posted draft R
Employee Reports FMLA for One Workday in the Middle of Vacation
dateNovember 16, 2016
Plaintiff Masoud Sharif and his wife were employed by United Airlines at the Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C.  He and his wife took vacation to South Africa from March 16 to April 4, 2014.  Mr. Sharif, however, was scheduled to work on March 30 and 31. He was able to get a co-worker to cover his s
Election 2016 – What Happens With Paid Family and Medical Leave?
dateNovember 09, 2016
The party’s over It’s time to call it a day…Whew!  Whether you’re nursing an electoral hangover or still on an adrenaline high, it is a relief to have the election over with and return to normal life – but what is “normal” now?  What are we likely to see in the next few months or years of a Donald T
California Risks Reputation as Leading Leave Haven
dateOctober 10, 2016
California is often commended – or condemned? – as the nation’s leader in rights for the state’s workers. Indeed, in late September California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill requiring employers to give notice to California employees of their rights if they are a victim of domestic violence, sexu
What Employers Need to Know about Caregiver Protections under the ADA, FMLA, Title VII... and in California
dateAugust 24, 2016
With many employees living life as the “Sandwich Generation,” job protections for family caregivers are becoming ever more important.  An August 18 blog post from the US Department of Labor highlights the issue in part by taking a brief look at paid leave programs in 3 states and job protection unde
Illinois Passes Child Bereavement Leave Act – Second after Oregon to provide bereavement leave
dateAugust 02, 2016
Illinois has passed a law to provide job-protected bereavement leave upon the death of an employee’s child.  The law became effective on July 29, 2016, when it was signed by Illinois governor Bruce Rauner.The new law provides up to 2 weeks of leave upon the loss of a child.  Many of the parameters o
Light Summer Reading from the Department of Labor
dateJuly 21, 2016
Back in April the U.S. Department of Labor unveiled its new Employer’s Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act.  (Our report is here.) The Guide was released to coincide with the annual FMLA/ADA Employer Compliance Conference hosted by Disability Management Employer Coalition in Pittsburgh.  Helen
Breaking news! Matrix’s new experience data provides the first clear snapshot of employers' ADA exposure
dateJuly 13, 2016
I am proud to announce that Matrix has unveiled the first credible benchmarking and data analysis of employer experiences related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The data is important for three reasons:As a way to benchmark the experience of specific employers who manage ADA leave and
No Bones About It – Donor Leave Laws Continue to Increase
dateJune 24, 2016
Wisconsin Supports Its Donor Employees Next week Wisconsin joins the growing list of states with laws mandating leave of absence for employees to donate organs, bone marrow, blood, and other types of human tissue.The state’s Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Leave law goes into effect on July 1, 2016. 
Still More on Leave of Absence as an ADA Accommodation – Jeff Nowak and EEOC Commissioner Feldblum to Co-Star
dateMay 26, 2016
The absence management world has been abuzz lately due to the release by the EEOC of a new resource document, Employer-Provided Leave and the Americans with Disabilities Act.  I wrote about this document and the latest EEOC consent decree – $8.6 million against Lowe’s due to its maximum leave polici
Lowe’s to pay $8.6 million in yet another EEOC case involving inflexible leave policies
dateMay 23, 2016
Employers, if you haven’t fixed this issue yet, get out from under that rock! If an employee with a disability exhausts leave time provided by company policy or by a law such as the FMLA, you have two obligations. First, consider even more leave as a reasonable accommodation.  Second, consider reaso
Leave as ADA Accommodation:  EEOC Releases New Resource Document – But Nothing’s New
dateMay 10, 2016
Yesterday, the EEOC released a Resource Document titled Employer-Provided Leave and the Americans with Disabilities Act. We in the employer community have been awaiting EEOC guidance on this hot topic since June 2011, when the Commission held a public hearing with testimony from representatives of t
An Excellent Week for FMLA/ADA Geeks
dateMay 02, 2016
One of Matrix’s promises to our clients it to be on top of developments in the world of accommodations and leaves of absence.  One way we do this is to develop relationships with the head honchos at the agencies that administer key laws:  the U.S. Department of Labor for FMLA, and the U.S. Equal Emp
DOL Announces New FMLA Employer’s Guide
dateApril 25, 2016
Ta da!   Today the U.S. Department of Labor unveiled its long-awaited, brand-spankin’-new Employer’s Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act.  The DOL has been promising this Guide for close to two years.FMLA Branch Chief Helen Applewhaite, speaking today in Pittsburgh at the annual FMLA/ADA Emplo
ADA Pings from National Experts
dateApril 22, 2016
Today I want to share some short but pithy guidance on the ADA.  I had the privilege of attending the annual ADA and FMLA Compliance Conference presented by the National Employment Law Institute (NELI), and yesterday was ADA day.  Here are some key points made by the presenters:Voluntariness of or c
What NOT To Do When The EEOC Asks For Names
dateApril 19, 2016
When the EEOC asks you for the names and contact information of employees who worked with the charging party, what should you do?  Connecticut employer Day & Zimmerman NPS, Inc. (DZNPS) recently learned what NOT to do.  Instead of granting DZNPS’s motion to dismiss the charging party’s ADA interfere
1, 2, 3, Leave!  California, San Francisco, and New York State Pass New or Increased Paid Family Leave Benefits
dateApril 12, 2016
As the federal government dithers, states and municipalities continue to be proactive in passing paid family leave laws (PFLs). Read on for information about the laws passed by the latest members of the club, San Francisco and New York State.  In addition, California has passed a law to increase the
Employers, Learn this Lesson:  Identify Essential Functions in Your Job Descriptions
dateApril 05, 2016
An employer’s dream (nightmare, that is):  Pfizer, Inc., gets the chance to convince a jury that driving is an essential function of its pharmaceutical sales representative position.  Don’t bet on Pfizer.  The facts of this case are sympathetic to the employee, Whitney Stephenson.  And even though h
Staying Awake is a Business Necessity for Any Employee
dateFebruary 10, 2016
Unfortunately, nearly every employer has caught an employee sleeping on the job. But what if that employee attributes his sleepiness to his disability?  What is the employer’s obligation to accommodate the employee under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?  In observing that “[r]emaining awak
Caution, Joint Employers:  The DOL is Looking for YOU!
dateJanuary 26, 2016
Employers, it’s time to take a broad look at your relationships with your workers.  Joint employer compliance with the FMLA is on the DOL’s radar, and the agency is finding many businesses short on adherence to the applicable regulations.  The DOL asserts that today’s varied worker arrangements are
ADA Accommodations – Reassignment Redux 
dateJanuary 24, 2016
Not long ago we addressed job reassignment as the ADA “accommodation of last resort.”  In a nutshell, the ADA requires an employer to consider reassignment of a disabled employee to a vacant position when (1) no other reasonable accommodation will enable the employee to perform the essential functio
Court to EEOC:  “Teamwork” Does Not Replace Performing Essential Functions of Position
dateJanuary 21, 2016
In a case against auto parts retailer AutoZone, the EEOC asserted that AutoZone should accommodate an employee with a disability by enforcing its “teamwork” company policy.  Problem is, according to the court, it is “a common practice for employers to promote cooperation and teamwork amongst their e
Reassignment – Don’t Forget the ADA “Accommodation of Last Resort”
dateDecember 16, 2015
Updated 2/1/2018: Reassignment as an ADA Accommodation: To Compete or Not to Compete?When good faith efforts during the interactive process fail to yield an effective accommodation for the employee’s current position, the ADA requires an employer to consider a possible accommodation that employers f
Invigorating, Inspiring, and Intriguing? No, Just a California Disability Insurance – Voluntary Plan Update
dateNovember 20, 2015
On November 16, I attended the meeting of the California Voluntary Plan Advisory Group (VPAG). This is a group that meets twice a year to discuss issues relating to California disability insurance offered pursuant to employer voluntary plans – certainly one of the more invigorating, inspiring,
Witch Warts are Covered by FMLA?
dateOctober 30, 2015
Wanda the Witch works as an administrative assistant for Stir the Pot, Inc., a cauldron manufacturer. Wanda is tired of seeing all her warts in the mirror and getting shunned at work. She schedules facial surgery to remove the warts. Her doctor tells her the surgery will be performed in the doctor’s
Nuts and Bolts and ADA
dateOctober 29, 2015
Frankenstein works for All Hallows Reconstruction, Inc., a company that produces nuts, bolts, and other metal products.   Frankenstein works on the production line operating a magnetic calibration unit that controls the quality of production.   This requires frequent physical twists and turns by Fra
Can a Ghost Qualify for FMLA Leave?
dateOctober 28, 2015
Q:  Whisper the Ghost is having problems with his visibility controls and is constantly transparent. Can he take FMLA leave from his long-time job as desk clerk at the Stanley Hotel until he can make himself visible to guests checking in?A:  Maybe. An eligible employee is entitled to FMLA leave if h
Part II: Just for Grins – How Many Leave Laws DOES California Have?
dateOctober 21, 2015
Yesterday, observing that having employees in California can be quite a challenge, we reviewed the recent amendments to leave-related laws passed (and vetoed) in California.  You can find that post here.That started me thinking – how many leave laws DOES California have?  Here’s a list of existing C
Part I: California Continues Reign as Leave Law Leader
dateOctober 20, 2015
Mention that you have employees in California, and every HR professional and employment lawyer in the room will feel your pain.  With over a dozen laws that provide employees with leaves of absence and 4 laws that provide pay benefits during time off, California leads the country in its number of le
PART II: FMLA? No, no, no! The employee does NOT get to choose!
dateOctober 06, 2015
Last week, we reviewed the facts and court ruling in Amstutz v. Liberty Center Board of Education, which I called an “unfortunate decision” for employers even though the defendant employer won the case. In short, the court ruled that an employee can decline to use FMLA leave for a qualifying absence
Part I: FMLA? No, no, no! The employee does NOT get to choose!
dateOctober 02, 2015
This is part one of a two-part article. Look for the conclusion next week.According to the US Department of Labor, an employee does not get to choose whether to count a qualifying absence as FMLA or not. But, last week, another court got it wrong. In Amstutz v. Liberty Center Board of Education, an
Do Your Homework on School Activities Leave
dateSeptember 21, 2015
Q:  What do school buses and lunch boxes have to do with leaves of absence?A:  A lot, if you live in a state with “school activities” leave.School is back in session and along with it comes lots of school activities:  parent-teacher conferences, football games, chaperoning the Homecoming dance – and
Matrix zoom! No longer flying under the Radar
dateSeptember 07, 2015
Welcome to Matrix-Radar.com – your new source for reliable, pertinent, and timely information about managing employee leaves of absence and accommodations.In this inaugural blog post, I want to share what you can expect from Matrix-Radar in the coming weeks.  Topics will include FMLA and state
Free webinar encore: Ensuring compliance post-ADAAA
dateSeptember 06, 2015
With the passing of 2009’s Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), the scope and impact of the original Act was materially expanded: Today fully 19% of working Americans are classified as living with a disability under provisions of ADAAA.Yet research among employers suggests there i
Kathy Ireland helps tell the Matrix story
dateSeptember 01, 2015
A good story calls for a good storyteller — and a large audience. The Matrix Absence Management story recently got both, when Matrix President Ken Cope stopped by to chat with Kathy Ireland on her syndicated broadcast, Worldwide Business with Kathy Ireland®. The program airs weekly and reaches over