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The Labor Department says a fresh look is needed at Family and Medical Leave Act regulations, and we couldn't agree more. Congress passed the FMLA more than 13 years ago and it took the DOL a couple of years to finalize regulations it proposed after FMLA's enactment.
Clearly, the regulations need updating. Courts have invalidated some parts of the rules, notably one that had required employers, in certain situations, to provide more than the 12-week maximum leave. Other problems include continued wrangling over whether certain conditions, such as colds, entitle an employee to FMLA leave, as well as a cumbersome medical certification process.
Updated regulations, we hope, would address these and many other issues since the original regulations were developed.
The DOL deserves applause for its approach. Rather than just propose new regulations, it is seeking employer input. The experience of thousands of employers will be a valuable source of information in developing new and better regulations.
For all its administrative hassles, the FMLA law is a good one. Knowing that their jobs and health insurance are protected if they have to take leave undoubtedly reduces stress and boosts productivity.
Now, it is up to regulators to make sure the law works as well as it should.