DoL: FMLA Revision Coming in March '05

July 13, 2004 ( - The US Department of Labor (DoL) plans to offer proposed revisions to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to conform with the Ragsdale v. Wolverine World Wide, Inc. ruling in March of 2005.

The necessary revisions were originally slated to be released bythe end of May 2003 and then by the end of June 2004.   However, the proposed revisions to FMLA took a back seat to the DoL’s activities in completing revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime rules , according to the DoL’s semiannual regulatory agenda published in the June 28 Federal Register .

>The revisions became necessary after the March 19, 2002 Supreme Court ruling in Ragsdale that companies do not have to tell workers that their maternity or medical leave policies satisfy federal law (See FMLA Leave Notice Struck Down ).   Prior to the court’s decision, DoL regulations required companies to provide their workforce such a notice.

>The US 8th Circuit Court of Appeals said that the Labor Department regulation requiring notice was invalid because it goes beyond the FMLA’s scope. In Ragsdale , t he Court agreed with the lower court’s decision, ruling that the DoL’s notice requirements were invalid absent evidence that the employer’s failure to designate the leave as FMLA leave interfered with the employee’s exercise of FMLA rights.

“After completing a review and analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision in Ragsdale and other judicial decisions, regulatory alternatives will be developed for notice-and-comment rulemaking,” the Department said. The DoL anticipates the costs of these necessary changes not expected to exceed $100 million per year.

A copy of the full DoL agenda is available  here .