FMLA Articles

Are FMLA changes in the future?

DOL adds entry to its agenda Many years have passed since the FMLA last saw any major changes. The last one was in 2013, when the regulations were revised to update the military family provisions, among other things. In the Spring 2019 regulatory agenda, which came out on May 22, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) snuck in a rather surprising entry regarding the FMLA. It reads as follows: “In this Request for Information, the Department [of Labor] will solicit comments on ways to improve its regulations under the FMLA to: (a) better protect and suit the needs of workers; and (b) reduce administrative and compliance burdens on employers.” This somewhat cryptic entry has a number of stakeholders drooling at the thought of, perhaps, a new and improved certification. Just imagine, if you will, a certification that directly aligns with the definition of a serious health condition. FMLA administrators could have less struggle trying to determine if a particular condition is a serious health condition. Be still, my beating heart! Don’t hold your breath on this, however, as this is just the first of many steps to regulatory change, and the request for information isn’t scheduled to appear in the Federal Register until April 2020. From there, you will have the opportunity to voice your views, challenges, and ideas that could help reduce your FMLA headaches. It’s not too early to put on your FMLA thinking caps and come up with a wish list. The DOL can’t make changes to the regulations that are not aligned with the law (only Congress can do that), but it can make other changes. The DOL may, however, make changes to the forms, even without going through the formal regulatory process, since they are no longer included in the regulations themselves. The regulatory agenda reports on the actions administrative agencies such as the Department of Labor plan to issue in the near and long term. Released by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the agenda demonstrates the Administration’s ongoing commitment to fundamental regulatory reform and a reorientation toward reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens. We will be keeping an eye on this! This article was written by Darlene M. Clabault, SHRM-CP, PHR, CLMS, of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. The content of these news items, in whole or in part, MAY NOT be copied into any other uses without consulting the originator of the content.


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