Labor Department Publishes Changes to Medical Leave
The Department of Labor on Monday published proposed rules that would require employees to request Family and Medical Leave Act leave in advance in foreseeable circumstances and allow employers to require some workers to obtain certification of fitness for duty before they return from leave, CongressDaily reports.
FMLA, enacted in 1993, requires employers with at least 50 employees to offer 12 weeks per year of unpaid leave to workers who develop serious illnesses and to those who seek to care for newborns or family members with serious health conditions. DOJ will accept public comments on the proposed rules for 60 days.
Victoria Lipnic, assistant secretary for employment standards at DOL, will discuss the proposed rules during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Children and Families hearing on Wednesday and a House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Workforce Protections hearing on Thursday. During the hearings, Lipnic likely will "face tough questioning from Democrats who helped draft the law and fear the administration is trying to curtail it," according to CongressDaily.
Senate HELP Committee Chair Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and House Education and Labor Committee Chair George Miller (D-Calif.) on Friday said that the proposed rules would limit the ability of employees to take FMLA leave. Miller said, "This proposal clearly benefits employers at the expense of workers. Given the Bush administration's track record over the last seven years of pushing policies that hurt American workers and their families, our committee intends to review these regulations with extreme care" (Johnson, CongressDaily, 2/11).