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DOL seeks comments on FMLA


WASHINGTON--The Department of Labor is asking for public comment on its Family and Medical Leave Act and FMLA regulations.

Enacted in 1993, the FMLA requires employers with more than 50 employees to provide employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave annually after the birth or adoption of a child; to take care of a sick child, parent or spouse; or when a serious health condition prevents the employee from working.

During the leave, the employer must continue the employee's health insurance coverage on the same basis as prior to the leave.

Noting that it has been more than a decade since the DOL first published regulations to help employers comply with the FMLA, Labor Department officials say it is time for a new look at the law and the DOL regulations.

"We've realized we need some fresh information and fresh thinking on the issues that have developed over nearly a dozen years since the regulations were implemented. We'd like more input from the public, which is why we put out the request for information," said Victoria Lipnic, assistant labor secretary at the DOL's Employment Standards Administration.

The DOL is seeking comments on numerous technical issues such as the definition of a serious illness under FMLA, as well as more general issues, such as methodologies that could be used to estimate the number of employees who take FMLA during a year.

Comments can be submitted by e-mail to, or by surface mail to Richard Brennan, senior regulatory officer, Wage and Hour Division, Employment Standards Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Room-S-3502, 200 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20210.

Comments on the DOL request for information are due by Feb. 2, 2007. The request for information will be published in the Dec. 1 issue of the Federal Register.