How to Shape the Future of the Family and Medical Leave Act

On July 17, 2020 the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it is seeking information from the public regarding regulations implementing the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). The stated purpose of the request is to assist the DOL in assessing the effectiveness of the current FMLA regulations as well as to aid it in its administration of the FMLA by identifying topics where additional resources may assist employers and employees in understanding their rights and obligations under the FMLA.

The DOL is asking interested parties what they would like to see changed in the FMLA regulations to better effectuate the statute’s purpose without overburdening employers and employees. The DOL has specified six prompts for interested parties to consider when submitting their input:

  • What, if any, challenges have interested parties experienced in applying or interpreting the regulatory definition of a serious health condition when determining if FMLA leave is appropriate?
  • What, if any, challenges or impacts have interested parties experienced when an employee takes FMLA leave on an intermittent basis or reduced leave schedule?
  • What specific challenges do interested parties experience when employees request leave or notify their employers of their need for leave? For example, do interested parties experience challenges in providing the appropriate amount of time for their need of FMLA leave.
  • What challenges have interested parties experienced with the medical certification process that are not addressed by the optional-use forms mentioned above?
  • Whether or not interested parties would like additional guidance on the issues addressed in their fact specific opinion letters.
  • The DOL requests that interested parties provide any specific data or information that challenges employers in administering FMLA leave or that employees experience in taking or attempting to take FMLA leave.

Any interested parties who wish to provide feedback to the DOL for its consideration in future changes to the FMLA and its administration have sixty (60) days from July 17, 2020 to do so and can go here for information on how to submit their feedback. For many employers who struggle with the administrative and practical burdens of providing FMLA to employees, this is an opportunity to address those concerns to the DOL at a time when the agency appears open to making significant changes to the FMLA’s requirements.

The St. Louis employment attorneys at McMahon Berger have been representing employers across the country in labor and employment matters for over sixty years, and are available to discuss these issues and others.  As always, the foregoing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice regarding any particular situation as every situation must be evaluated on its own facts. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.