Reaction to New FMLA Regulations

By February 11, 2008General

The Employment Standards Administration of the Department of Labor published a proposed new rule today updating regulations governing the Family Medical Leave Act. The key provisions include increased notice obligations for employers so can better understand their FMLA rights, while revising employee notice rules to minimize workplace disruptions due to unscheduled FMLA absences. Labor’s news release is here, and the proposed rule is here.

From a statement by National Association of Manufacturers President John Engler:

We welcome the Department of Labor’s decision to address the way the Family and Medical Leave Act is applied in the workplace. Today’s action is the result of tens of thousands of comments to the federal government from both employers and employees, and it builds on a decade-long record of congressional testimony and legal decisions that reached the Supreme Court, all pointing to the practical challenges involved in granting family and medical leave. Over the course of the regulatory process, the NAM looks forward to reviewing the proposal thoroughly to ensure it upholds the benefits outlined in the law, while addressing critical administrative problems.

This proposal ensures key benefits of the Family and Medical Leave Act, as intended by Congress will remain secure. Employees will continue to take time off for the birth of a child, attend to a seriously ill family member and maintain the job protected leave they need for their own medical care. The FMLA was never intended to turn full-time jobs into part-time jobs. It was never intended to allow employees to take sporadic leave without no notice to employers, nor to add workload to those covering the surprise absences of their co-workers. Future success of the program relies on clear, consistent rules, and there are legitimate concerns that must be addressed to protect the law’s intent.

Michael Fox at the Employer’s Lawyer blog has more reaction.

Marketplace story here. And this is an informative AP story, which notes, “Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, employees can wait as long as two days after their shift begins to notify employers they are claiming time. The Labor Department wants to end that practice except for emergencies.”

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