BLR News


Sweeping FMLA Changes Require Quick Action from Employers

Old Saybrook, CT, December 1, 2008 -- On November 17 the Department of Labor revealed the final revisions to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a major overhaul of the law, and the first since its enactment in 1993. To assist employers with navigating the revised regulation and implementing policies as they prepare for it to become law on January 16, 2009, Business & Legal Reports, Inc. (BLR®) has launched the BLR FMLA Information Center at

“The impact of the final FMLA rule cannot be overstated. Employers will need to reconsider all of their leave policies and practices and make significant changes to avoid costly FMLA violations,” said Susan Schoenfeld, J.D., BLR legal editor and FMLA expert. “This will require employers to devote time and resources to understanding the new rules and changing their FMLA leave administration programs. The time employers have to actually make those changes is dangerously short – with only 60 days until the rule becomes effective on January 16.”

FMLA revisions affect the following areas of policy:

  • Serious Health Condition
  • Intermittent Leave
  • Employee and Employer Notice
  • Light Duty
  • Perfect Attendance Awards
  • Medical Certification
  • Fitness-for-Duty Certification
  • Military Caregiver Leave
  • Leave for Qualifying Exigencies for Families of National Guard and Reserves
  • Revised Forms

    What the Revisions Mean for Employers

    The Department of Labor says that many of the revisions were designed to clarify the requirements that the FMLA imposes on both employees and employers and to improve communication between the parties.

    Schoenfeld states that “since it was first enacted in 1993, employers have really struggled to understand and implement the FMLA in the ‘real world.’ Unlike many other federal employment laws, employers never really reached a comfort level in understanding the FMLA. The new FMLA rule comes with new forms that may assist with recordkeeping; however, the FMLA rule also adds two new types of leave which place extra burden on employers.

    “The bottom line,” added Schoenfeld, “is that employers will be significantly impacted by the FMLA changes, especially at first while they struggle to learn and understand the new FMLA requirements.”

    In addition to a summary of the FMLA revisions, BLR has made a number of resources available for employers at the FMLA Information Center, including:

  • Audio Conference: Family and Medical Leave: Sweeping New FMLA Regs Finalized; What Employers Need to Know—And Do—Now, Friday, December 5, from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. EST.
    To register, visit:

  • Downloadable PDF: New Year, New FMLA: Changes You Need to Make Now
    Available at:

  • Advanced ordering of the BLR FMLA Compliance Guide fully updated for 2009, including information on how state regulations interact with the federal changes.
    To reserve a copy please visit:

  • For more information regarding the FMLA revisions, please visit:

    For media who would like to talk to FMLA subject-matter expert Susan Schoenfeld, JD, Legal Editor at BLR, please call 800-727-5257 X2442 or e-mail Media @

    About Business and Legal Reports, Inc.

    Business & Legal Reports, Inc. (BLR®) is an award-winning publisher dedicated to supporting companies with up-to-date HR, Compensation, Safety and Environmental analysis, training, and regulatory compliance information. Founded in 1977 with a mission to provide executives and decision makers with reliable, easy-to-understand analysis of the ever-increasing and complex state and federal laws, today BLR delivers online services such as,,, and as well as popular Web destinations for professionals such as the, and BLR also publishes highly regarded state compliance services such as What to Do About Personnel Problems in [Your State], Employee Compensation in [Your State], and Environmental Compliance in [Your State] as well as best practice newsletters, benchmark surveys, training materials, and books for more than 300,000 companies and their employees worldwide. For more information, contact BLR at or call 800-727-5257