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November 14, 2008
New FMLA Regs Arrive

The Department of Labor has released final regulations covering the Family and Medical Leave Act and addressing new military family leave entitlements for employees.

At 762 pages, the regulations are long. They are scheduled to be published in the November 17, 2008, edition of the Federal Register and will become effective 60 days from that date.

In February 2008, the department proposed new Family and Medical Leave Act regulations and asked the public to comment on them. The department received more than 15,000 comments on the regulations.

The February 2008 proposal covered several areas of the Family and Medical Leave Act, including notice requirements, medical certification, and the definition for "continuing treatment" of a serious health condition. The department made changes to the rules before publishing the final regulations.

For example, the proposed rule added a new paragraph that addressed the requirement for that employees are eligible to take FMLA leave only if they have been employed by the employer for at least 12 months and have at least 1,250 hours of service in the 12-month period preceding the leave. The proposed rule stated that, although the 12 months of employment need not be consecutive, employment prior to a continuous break in service of five years or more need not be counted. The final rule changes that part to allow up to 7 years' gap in service, because, as commenters noted, "employees sometimes take extended leaves from the workforce to raise children or to care for ill family members and emphasizing that women are particularly likely to fill this role."

We will publish a more detailed analysis of other changes later today.

You can read the regulations here .

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