On February 11, 2008, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (the “Notice”) to update and clarify the regulations under The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”). According to the DOL, the proposed rule was developed in response to a variety of court cases invalidating portions of the FMLA regulations, the passage of the new military family leave provisions, the DOL’s 15 years experience in enforcing and administering the FMLA, and the DOL’s review of 15,000 comments that it received in response to its December 2006 Request For Information.

Because the proposed regulations address critical areas such as light duty, waivers of individual claim rights, serious health conditions, employer notice obligations, employee notice obligations, medical certifications, fitness-for-duty certifications, and the new military leave requirements, the Firm’s Employment and Labor Group will be assessing the impact of these proposed regulations.

Notwithstanding the broad scope of the new proposed regulations, employers are reminded that the military leave provisions (as reported in our February 4, 2008 Update) are effective immediately. The new military leave provisions (1) entitle an eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin (nearest blood relative) of a “covered service member” to a total of 26 workweeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period to care for the service member and (2) permit an eligible employee a total of 12 workweeks leave during any 12-month period for a “qualifying exigency” arising out of the fact that the spouse, or a son, daughter or parent of the employee is on active duty (or as been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation.