New Changes to FMLA

It generally takes months and years before a piece of legislation such as the Federal Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can become law. However, apparently in the last 60 days of an administration, the outgoing president can get new rules onto the books without input from congress. This is sometimes called “midnight rule-making” – even if 60 days (or the 30-day waiting period for lesser rules) make for a long midnight.

FMLA was passed during the Clinton administration, to address issues related to leaves requested by employees who needed to attend to their own medical conditions or conditions of a family member. FMLA lets workers take unpaid leave to tend to medical and family needs. To learn more about FMLA and its California counterpart visit our site at Draft regulations put forth by the Department of Labor have now become official through the 60 day rule. Although there are aspects of the law that are welcomed by most ( help provided to military families) there are changes implemented than can severely affect an employee’s rights. For a detailed review of new changes visit DOL’s site at The new changes put in place will take effect on January 19, 2009.

Among the most controversial new requirements is the requirement that workers must warn their bosses that they are planning to miss work “absent unusual circumstances.” This could severely affect the rights of those workers who may suffer a sudden illness or be faced with an immediate need to care for a loved one. Another rule change that will negatively impact the workforce is that the employers will be allowed to consider FMLA absences in determining bonuses and other rewards. Employers will be able to disqualify employees from bonuses or other payments based on achievement of a specified job-related performance goal (such as attendance) when the employee has not met the goal due to FMLA leave, so long as this is done in a nondiscriminatory manner.

We will address these issues and other changes made to labor laws in future blogs.

Contact Information