In conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division published a highly anticipated final rule today implementing new provisions that amended the FMLA to expand protections to military families and airline flight crews.
WorldatWork, a nonprofit human resources association, strongly supports the expansion of FMLA protections to military and flight crew caregivers.
“HR practioners are glad to get this guidance the final rule provides so that they can properly administer leave requests for these newly covered employees,” said Cara Woodson Welch, WorldatWork vice president of policy and public affairs.
In addition to expanding FMLA protections for military families and airline flight crews, the proposed regulations did raise serious concerns regarding the scope and real-world implications of additional changes to FMLA provisions. WorldatWork outlined these concerns in a comment letter submitted to DOL in April 2012.
As the total rewards advocacy association, WorldatWork has engaged in regular data collection efforts regarding FMLA practices and perspectives during the past decade, including member surveys in 2005, 2008, and 2012.
One of WorldatWork’s primary issues with the proposed regulations concerned the elimination of language allowing for flexibility around the administration of Intermittent or Reduced Schedule Leave for all employees covered by the FMLA. In response to comments submitted by WorldatWork and others, the Department of Labor decided to keep the flexibility provision in the final rule.
“WorldatWork is extremely pleased that the Department of Labor listened to our concerns and amended the final rule to reflect many of our recommendations,” said Welch. “We appreciate this opportunity to improve the functionality of the FMLA. The final rule provides HR practioners with some much needed clarity when dealing with FMLA leave requests.”