SHRM Calls Labor's Request for FMLA Information Welcomed and Overdue

For Immediate Release

Dec 1, 2006

FMLA Implementation Rules Need Clarification and Improvement, Says HR Profession

(Alexandria, VA, December 1, 2006) - The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) today applauded the U.S. Department of Labor's announced plans to seek information on the current rules governing the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). An official Request for Information on the FMLA's regulations was published in the Federal Register on December 1, 2006.

"Today's announcement by the Department of Labor is welcomed news for both employers and employees," said Susan Meisinger, president and chief executive officer for SHRM. "While the family leave benefit has worked fairly smoothly, the FMLA's medical leave protections have been hindered by the regulatory ambiguity about what is and what is not covered under the Act."

SHRM has helped document concerns about the FMLA's uneven implementation. Contradictory opinion letters, federal court rules and regulatory advice have contributed to growing concern about the integrity of the Act's benefits. Additionally, the Supreme Court invalidated some FMLA's regulations in its March 2002 Ragsdale v. Wolverine World Wide Inc. decision, thereby adding to confusion about what the act provides and requires.

These problems have been detailed in Congressional hearings and in survey research conducted by SHRM. The Request for Information will allow employers, employees and all interested parties to share additional information with DOL about how current regulations are affecting implementation of the FMLA. On behalf of its more than 210,000 members across the country, SHRM urged the Department of Labor to clarify and improve the FMLA's regulations.

"We hope this Request for Information leads to real action and real improvements," said Meisinger. "Employers, employees and HR professionals need - and deserve - swift and definitive solutions to the problems that have plagued the Act's leave protections."

For more information on the U.S. Department of Labor request for information on the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, visit the SHRM Government Affairs Web page at


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