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SHRM issues comments on DOL’s proposed changes to FMLA regulations

The Department of Labor’s proposal to change Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations on tracking intermittent leave is misguided and should be withdrawn, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) said in submitted comments.

The 260,000-member SHRM and the human resources community played an active role in a comprehensive review and update of FMLA rules just four years ago and are concerned about DOL’s attempt to roll back certain employer-supported provisions.

DOL’s current proposal would implement the leave provisions of the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act and the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act and make changes to existing regulations.

The proposal also would change the way employers track FMLA leave when employees use intermittent or reduced leave. This would eliminate an employer’s flexibility to maintain a policy intended to discourage tardy arrivals by tracking leave in one-hour increments. SHRM believes the existing provision is important and should remain unchanged because it encourages employees to be selective about when they take leave and helps employers maintain necessary staffing levels and control attendance problems.

DOL also proposes changes to — and might eliminate — regulations on when it is physically impossible for an employee to return to work. SHRM urges DOL to keep the current provision.

“While SHRM appreciates DOL’s need to update the regulations as a result of legislation passed by Congress, we are disappointed that the agency chose to alter provisions unrelated to these legislative changes and that were carefully considered by the agency in 2008,” said Mike Aitken, SHRM’s vice president for government affairs.

Forty-four SHRM state councils and local chapters signed on to SHRM’s comment because human resources plays a critical role in administering FMLA leave. HR professionals are responsible for determining whether an employee is entitled to FMLA leave and tracking it. They also help determine how to maintain a satisfied and productive workforce while an employee is on leave.

Source: www.shrm.org