February 14, 2008 - At a hearing on the Department of Labor’s proposed changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a host of Democratic senators yesterday criticized the DOL for “chipping away” at the current law.
Lawmakers fear workers could be discouraged from using FMLA under the DOL’s proposals, which include an enhanced medical certification process, changes to the definition of a serious medical condition and more employer notice requirements.
“The Family Medical Leave Act has been a huge success for both workers and employers. It lets workers get treatment for their own or a family member’s serious medical condition, while keeping the job they need to pay for that treatment,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
“In the face of all this progress, however, the Bush Administration last week took a step backward, announcing new regulations that will limit workers’ ability to use such medical leave when they need it,” Kennedy continued. Kennedy was joined by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) in his criticism of the changes.
Under FMLA, companies employing 50 or more people must allow workers up to 12 weeks a year of unpaid leave to care for themselves or family members during serious health conditions, or for the birth or adoption of a child.