The need for FMLA technical corrections legislation has been well-documented through seven Congressional hearings (summary chart; text of testimony), surveys, and a litigation explosion. For example, the Supreme Court (in Ragsdale v. Wolverine Worldwide Inc.) has already struck down part of the Department of Labor’s FMLA regulations as invalid and the validity of 13 FMLA regulations has been challenged in 68 court decisions.
The Coalition strongly supports the enactment of Family and Medical Leave Clarification legislation pending before Congress. Senator Gregg (R-N.H.) and Rep. Biggert (R-IL) have introduced S. 320 and H.R. 35, respectively. The bills would instruct the DOL to restore FMLA “serious health condition” interpretations to reflect Congress’ FMLA blueprint as reflected in the Democrats’ original Committee report. S. 320 is pending before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee. H.R. 35 is pending in the House Education and Workforce Committee as well as the House Administration and Government Reform Committees.
Click here to urge your Members of Congress to support FMLA Corrections legislation.
Click here for the Coalition’s letter to Vice Chair Biggert supporting H.R. 35.
Click here for Chairman Gregg’s Statement and the letter from the Coalition, as printed in the Congressional Record, March 8, 2001
Status of FMLA Expansion Amendments Considered in Congress
Click here for a comparative chart on expansion legislation. During the course of the election year, three attempts have been made to expand the FMLA with vaguely worded amendments that have not had the benefit of any hearings or deliberation:
In the fall of 2003, Senator Feingold (D-WI) offered an FMLA expansion provision (S. 683) to emergency Iraqi construction legislation (S. 1689). On December 17, 2003, the amendment passed the full Senate in the final moments of debate on the Iraqi construction package in the middle of the night by an unrecorded voice vote. The provision was deleted from the Iraqi funding bill in a joint House-Senate conference meeting.
To Click here for the Coalition’s Fact Sheet on Senator Feingold’s FMLA Expansion Amendment sent to the Senate on 10/16.
To view a video of Senate consideration of the measure, click here.
On March 25, 2004, Senator Murray (D-WA) offered an FMLA expansion amendment package to unborn victims of violence legislation (H.R. 1997), but her efforts failed in the Senate with 46 Senators voting to proceed with the amendment and 53 Senators voting not to proceed with the amendment. Under the procedural circumstances (since a point of order had been raised), 41 votes were needed to stop the amendment and 53 votes were received.
The sweeping 158 page amendment package contained poorly drafted back door FMLA expansions and other employment and civil rights provisions with major workplace ramifications. Although the package contained unprecedented mandates for employers with just 15 or more employees and included part-time workers, temporary employees and independent contractors, not a SINGLE hearing had been held before Sen. Murray attempted to have the full Senate pass the package on unrelated legislation.
Coalition’s One-Pager, click here.
Coalition’s more extensive analysis of the Murray amendment, click here.
Full text of Sen. Murray’s broadly based Senate Amendment (#2859)
UWC’s Fact Sheet on the Unemployment Insurance Provisions of the Murray Amendment, click here (Posted by permission from UWC)
For NFIB’s Fact Sheet on the Issue, click here
On June 23, 2004, Senator Feingold (D-WI) again offered his FMLA expansion proposal to Department of Defense (DoD) authorization legislation on the Senate floor, but he withdrew his amendment after Senators Warner (R-VA) and Gregg (R-NH) offered a competing amendment permitting employers to offer and employees to receive flextime. (Senator Murray also filed an FMLA military families expansion amendment to the DoD bill, but did not have the opportunity to offer it.)
Coalition letter sent to the Senate on the Feingold amendment.
Click here to read the Senate debate including Chairman Gregg’s statement on the alternative approach that he and Chairman Warner offered the Senate.
Text of Feingold FMLA Expansion Amendment #3400 Filed on June 7, 2004