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December 01, 2006
Dept. of Labor Reviews FMLA, Wants Your Feedback

The U.S. Department of Labor is reviewing Family and Medical Leave Act regulations and seeking information and comment from the public.

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Specifically, the department is seeking comment on a series of questions covering intermittent FMLA leave, the definition of "eligible employee" under FMLA, the definition of "serious health condition" under FMLA, leave determinations/medical certifications, and other topics.

The department notes that in the past, it has received a significant number of comments on the requirements associated with the administration and use of unforeseen, intermittent leave. Employers have told the department that the administration of intermittent leave, which must be done in increments that correspond to the employer's payroll system, is overly burdensome, especially in the case of unforeseeable, intermittent leave.

In the department's request for public comment, the questions it poses about intermittent leave include:

  • Do employers track late arrivals and early departures for FMLA-covered conditions? If so, how is such leave counted against the employee's allotment of twelve weeks of FMLA leave?
  • Is there any evidence that employees are misusing FMLA leave? If so, how does this compare to other types of leave?
  • Is there any evidence of employers closing or relocating facilities as a result of employee leave patterns (either scheduled or unscheduled)?
  • Is there a way to appropriately balance employer absence control policies and legitimate employee use of unscheduled, intermittent leave?

"The department has had the FMLA on its regulatory agenda for a number of years," says Victoria A. Lipnic, assistant secretary for the department's Employment Standards Administration. "We've realized we need some fresh information and fresh thinking on the issues that have developed over nearly a dozen years since the regulations were implemented. We'd like more input from the public, which is why we put out the request for information."

You can view the department's request for information in the Federal Register here.

Written comments on the request for information should be submitted to Richard M. Brennan, Senior Regulatory Officer, Wage and Hour Division, Employment Standards Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-3502, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W. , Washington , D.C. 20210 . Electronic comments may be submitted by e-mail to: .

For more information on the request, visit .

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