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New FMLA Rules Face Uncertain Future

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November 19, 2008

With larger Democratic majorities in the House and Senate and a new Democratic administration taking office on January 20, the future of the new FMLA rules published on November 17 remains unclear.  Organized labor and other groups oppose certain provisions of the new rules, arguing that they will make it more difficult for employees to exercise their FMLA leave rights.  (For example, the AFL-CIO has already voiced its opposition, as has the National Partnership for Women and Families.

Although the rules will take effect before the Obama administration takes office, Congress could invalidate the rules using a special “fast-track” procedure under the Congressional Review Act.  However, doing so would also delay implementation of employee-favorable provisions in the new rules, such as those implementing new leave rights for the families of military personnel.  (A Congressional Research Service explaining the Congressional Review Act and its potential effect on the so-called “midnight rules” being implemented by the Bush Administration is available here courtesy of Open CRS.

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