February 5 Marks Two Decades of the FMLA

Author: Melissa Burdorf, XpertHR Legal Editor

February 5 marks the 20th anniversary of President Bill Clinton signing into law the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Since that time, the FMLA has provided many eligible employees with an unpaid leave of absence to care for themselves and/or close family members, secure in the notion that their job will be waiting for them upon their return. To commemorate the anniversary, the US Department of Labor (DOL) has scheduled a live webcast today at 2:30 p.m. EST - during this webcast they will reveal the new final regulations expanding FMLA protections for military families and workers on airline flight crews.

The DOL has also released a survey on the FMLA's use and impact on the workplace, employees and their families. The results of the survey, titled Family and Medical Leave Act in 2012: Final Report, were compiled into three main reports:

  1. A Technical Report (includes a description and major findings of an employee survey and a worksite survey);
  2. A Methodology Report (methods used to conduct both surveys); and
  3. A Detailed Results Appendix.

Along with the survey results, the DOL provided a survey fact sheet which shows that the FMLA has positively affected both employers and employees. Interestingly, the survey results also indicate that employers "appear to have efficiently integrated the administration of the FMLA into their ongoing operations without undue burden."

While these results are positive, employers need to remember that they are limited to the small sampling of employers and employees surveyed. Employers should continue to ensure they are compliant with the FMLA and evaluate their own FMLA issues on a case-by-case basis.

The last survey was conducted more than 10 years ago.

Additional Resources

Employee Leaves > FMLA

How to Handle a Request for FMLA Leave

How to Curb FMLA Abuse

How to Terminate an Employee Out on FMLA Leave

The Bermuda Triangle Has Expanded: The FMLA's Intersection With the ADA, Workers' Compensation and More - Legal Insight

What Supervisors Need to Know About the FMLA - Supervisor Briefing