Bush Administration Seeking Changes To FMLA Regulations

According to the Associated Press:

The Bush administration is proposing the first changes to regulations in the Family Medical Leave Act in more than a decade.

The act allows eligible workers to have up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a year for such things as caring for a newborn or a sick family member, or to address a serious health condition.

The Labor Department says it has sent the proposed changes to the White House, but won’t say what the changes are.

Advocates for the act say they’re worried that the administration will try to cut back or weaken protections of the law. They say the government should be working to expand it.

But the Labor Department says people already eligible under the act will remain eligible, and that changes will be aimed at stopping people from abusing the system.

The changes will be made public once the White House signs off on them. The Labor Department hopes the final regulations will come by the end of the year.

The New York Times reported:

Labor Department officials said on Thursday that they had proposed new regulations that address some corporate complaints that workers are abusing the Family and Medical Leave Act. Under the proposals, workers would generally have to call in to request a leave before taking it; currently, employees can take off for two days before requesting a leave.She said the proposed regulations would allow companies to require doctors to recertify annually that a worker has a serious health condition. Under current rules, doctors can provide a multiyear certification that a worker has a serious condition.

Although a Labor Department official announced the move through interviews with the Associated Press and The New York Times, the department has not provided any details about its recommendations.

Workforce Management reports: 

The White House budget office has up to 90 days to review the proposal, but observers estimate that it likely will be published by mid-February in the Federal Register. The public would then have 60 days to comment. Then the Labor Department would issue a final regulation.