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SHRM Recommends Improvements to FMLA Implementation

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On February 16, 2007, SHRM submitted commentsto the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in response to its Request for Information (RFI) regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). DOL sought information about workplace experiences with several FMLA provisions, including the definition of a “serious health condition,” intermittent leave, notice requirements and FMLA leave determinations/medical certifications.

In its comments, SHRM highlighted HR’s challenging role in administering and granting leave pursuant to the FMLA. SHRM recommended that DOL: (1) increase the number of days in the definition of a period of incapacity from “more than three consecutive calendar days” to “more than five business days”; (2) require employees to take leave in half-day increments, at a minimum; and (3) require employees to provide advance notice of their request for FMLA leave, except when the leave is unforeseeable.

During the past two months, SHRM has solicited suggestions from the HR community on ways to improve the implementation of the FMLA. In January, the Society organized three regional sessions to discuss the FMLA in Seattle, Washington; Groton, Connecticut; and Chicago, Illinois. SHRM also mobilized its grassroots letter-writing effort through which members submitted nearly 4,500 comments to DOL using HRVoice. Finally, as the chair of the National Coalition to Protect Family Leave, numerous SHRM state councils and chapters signed a comprehensive set of comments that were also submitted to DOL.

No news yet on DOL’s reaction to the comments or what action, if any, DOL may take. Stay tuned for updates.

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©2007 Society for Human Resource Management


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