After a two-year period that involved nearly 20,000 comments, the DOL released a significant update to the Family and Medical Leave Act that took effect January 16, 2009.
The final update includes clarifications to the military benefit enhancements that were released in early 2008 (NDAA) and specifies how to administer the changes that came about as a result of the amendment.
In addition, the rule re-organizes the traditional FMLA regulations and clarifies the statute’s rights and obligations. The DOL also used this occasion to amend and create new forms that should be used for certification requirements regarding the use of FML and military family leave. The DOL took the opportunity to review thousands of employer and public comments and questions on all areas of FMLA and addressed many of those administrative issues in the final 762 pages of regulations. The final regulations can be accessed at http://www.dol.gov/federalregister/PdfDisplay.aspx?DocId=21763.
In short, the DOL used a common sense approach to help Americans better comprehend their benefits under the FMLA while taking into consideration the cumbersome administration burdens the FMLA requires. Employers, employees, and members of the public all had a chance to provide input in the formulation of these new regulations and the DOL offered much legislative background behind its final decision.