Bush Administration Seeking Changes
To FMLA Regulations
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
The Labor Department says it
has sent the proposed changes to the White House, but won’t say what the
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
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
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
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.