January 20, 2011

Christina Erling

AFGE Supports Proposed Changes to Family Medical Leave Act

(Washington, DC) - The American Federation of Government Employees recently supported proposed Office of Personnel Management (OPM) changes to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), as well as offered comments and recommendations to the suggested regulations.

OPM’s proposed regulations for implementing amendments to the FMLA seeks to change the definition of active duty to covered active duty military personnel, add qualified exigencies to the reason for FMLA entitlement, and to define those qualifying exigencies and how they are requested and verified. “AFGE applauds the expansion of the definition of service member and the provision for new exigencies promising federal employees with more FMLA entitlements,” stated AFGE National Vice President for Women’s and Fair Practices Augusta Thomas.

Obtaining FMLA leave has often proven to be burdensome. “We found that employees were grappling with the onerous certification and verification requirements. There have been a substantial number of cases where employees have had difficulty obtaining FMLA leave to which they were entitled, due to these very requirements imposed by individual agencies,” stated Thomas.

AFGE proposed that OPM clarify and alter the requirements for certification and verification for FMLA requests, to shift the burden on the agency, thereby ensuring that federal employees receive the benefits promised in FMLA. “AFGE has suggested that the onus for certification and verification be placed with the agency, providing the employee the flexibility necessary to take advantage of the benefits promised by FMLA, while allowing the agency to gather information to support FMLA requests,” stated Thomas. “We strongly support the proposed regulations implementing the FMLA amendments with hopes that the agency will consider AFGE’s recommendations.”

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