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February 17, 2005
Changes to FMLA Coming Soon

Changes to regulations for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) could come as early as next month, the Kansas City Star reports.

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Employer and business groups have been lobbying for changes to FMLA for years. Their complaints involve the administrative costs of tracking intermittent leave and the definition of a serious health condition making employees eligible for leave under the act, the newspaper notes.

FMLA allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth of a child or the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or for foster care, to care for a family member with a serious health condition, or for the employee's own serious health condition.

Employers have urged the Department of Labor to clarify the rules and reduce the burden of complying with them, saying some employees are abusing the current system. Employers would like the department to put restrictions on intermittent leave, such as a rule requiring this type of leave to be at least a half day, the newspaper reports.

For now, employers can only speculate about what changes the Department of Labor would make with proposed new regulations.

Others are pushing for Congress to expand FMLA. Senator Edward Kennedy has supported legislation that would expand the act to include employers with 25 or more employees. Currently, the law covers employers with 50 or more employees.


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