Expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act
|Sixteen years ago, President Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) into law. Now, President Obama may be given the choice to sign legislation which would expand this law based on two bills introduced to the House of Representatives.
The first bill, introduced by Representative Shea-Proter, would remove various Department of Labor regulations which have effectively limited the application of the FMLA during the Bush Administration describes her proposed changes as:
• restore protections that prevent an employer from forcing an employee to use more FMLA leave than is medically necessary;
The second bill is the Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act which would permit leave to care for domestic partners, children of domestic partners, same-sex spouse, parent-in-laws, adult children, siblings and grandparents if there is a serious health condition.
If these bills pass, companies across the nation will need to revise their current policies and procedures for authorizing FMLA leaves. More significantly, businesses will have to prepare for more employee use of these laws. While these changes are significant, they remain limited because the FMLA still only provides unpaid leave. The bigger issue is will the state or federal laws be amended to provide paid leave under certain circumstances. A few states have done this in limited circumstances and bills continue to be proposed allowing this. If such legislation passes, a geometric increase in the use of the FMLA will be seen. This will truly redesign the playing filed.
Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying with state and federal employment laws. If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (203) 965-0560.