APWU President Burrus Calls on Labor Department to Reverse Bush FMLA Rules


APWU President William Burrus has called on U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to rescind the new regulations [PDF] governing the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that were imposed by the Bush Administration just days before the former president left office.

The Bush FMLA rules “weakened the law and made it more difficult for workers to exercise the rights the legislation was designed to protect,” Burrus said in his June 3 letter [PDF] to Solis.

The new regulations, he noted, define “serious health condition” more narrowly; require employees to provide more medical documentation about their conditions, and provide it more often; allow employers to contact an employee’s healthcare providers without the employees’ knowledge or permission, and permit employers to request FMLA recertification every six months in conjunction with an absence, at the employee’s expense.

In calling for the reversal of the President Bush’s parting shot to American working families, however, Burrus requested that Labor Department “retain the one positive change” in the new rules: the expansion of FMLA rights for members of the military and their families.

Burrus praised the FMLA Restoration Act (H.R. 2161), introduced in the House of Representatives on April 29 by Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), but asked the labor secretary to reverse the new rules without waiting for the legislation to pass.