Labor Dept May Change Family Medical Leave Act Regulations

The Department of Labor is considering changes to the landmark Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) after years of pressure from business interests. According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, the Department of Labor (DOL) is expected to propose changes as early as March of this year. “The proposals would make FMLA inaccessible to millions of Americans who now can afford access,” Lissa Bell, policy associate at the National Partnership, told the Kansas City Star. One of the changes feared is that the DOL will eliminate some illnesses for which employees can take job-protected leave.

“Opponents of the FMLA are placing enormous pressure on the Bush Administration to scale back the law,” said Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership. “Their proposals would deny many working Americans the benefits of job-protected leave by changing the definition of a serious illness and restricting the use of intermittent leave.”

The DOL denies that any such changes are being planned, according to the Birmingham News. However, the DOL has said it will make changes to regulations governing notice for leave time after a 2002 US Supreme Court decision that relaxed employers’ notification obligations to employees, the Birmingham News reports.

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Kansas City Star 2/14/05; Birmingham News 2/16/05; National Partnership 2/3/05

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