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FMLA working as intended, comments to DOL show


WASHINGTON--In most situations, the Family and Medical Leave Act is working well and is providing valuable benefits to employees, according to a Department of Labor report released Wednesday.

The report, based on more than 15,000 comments the DOL received, said that sections of the 1993 law that allow employees to take blocks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child or because of a serious health care condition of the employee's or immediate family member, "appears to be working as anticipated and intended, and working very successfully."

In those areas, the DOL report said there is "near unanimity" among those filing comments that the FMLA is beneficial to employers and employees.

However, there is considerable tension between employers and employees in the use of unscheduled intermittent leave. "This is the single most serious area of friction between employers and employees seeking to use FMLA leave," the report said.

While many employers used words such as "abuse and misuse" to describe employee use of unscheduled intermittent leave, the DOL said it could not assess how much of that category of leave-taking is actual abuse and how much is legitimate.