Big changes for family leave act in 2009

Nov. 14, 2008 at 11:26 AM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- New provisions to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act would expand eligibility to U.S. military families while tightening restrictions for others.

Scheduled to be revealed Monday, the provisions would be effective Jan. 16, just days before President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th U.S. president, USA Today reported Friday.

The Family and Medical Leave Act allows an employee to take unpaid leave for a serious health condition or to care for a sick family member, or to care for a new son or daughter without fear of being fired or being forced to take a lower job upon return.

Besides instituting leave for military and National Guard and Reserve family members, the provisions establish new rules on how employees notify their employers about needing to take the time, and how often and when employees must see doctors, among other things, the newspaper reported.

Some of the changes have been criticized by employee groups who said workers would have less access to the 12 weeks of job-protected leave for family medical situations or the birth or adoption of a child.

Randel Johnson with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the changes would curb employee abuses.

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