Please note: As of January 20, 2017, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.

News Release

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.




For more information call: 202/219-8743.

Final regulations for the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) are published in today's Federal Register. The rules will take effect 30 days after publication.

While largely unchanged from the interim final regulations previously published, the final regulations include revised definitions of terms such as "serious health condition" and "health care provider"; clarification of employers' responsibilities on designation of FMLA leave; and information responding to employers' questions about medical certification.

The final rules incorporate suggestions from more than 900 public comments received by the Labor department during the six- month public comment period on the interim rules. The FMLA, which became effective on Aug. 5, 1993, covers private employers with 50 or more employees, employees of public agencies and employees of local public or private schools.

Efforts will continue to educate both employees and employers about their rights and responsibilities under the law.

The FMLA allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a 12-month period for the birth of a child and to care for the newborn; placement of a child for adoption or foster care; care of a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition; or an employee's own serious health condition.

Highlights of the changes include:

  • changing the definition of "serious health condition" to clarify the circumstances under which employees with chronic health conditions are not required to see a health care provider during FMLA absence;
  • amending the definition of "health care provider" to include clinical social workers; any health care provider recognized by the employer or the employer's group health plan benefits manager as authorized to provide certification of a serious health condition for claims; and health care providers in countries outside the U.S.;
  • clarifying employers' responsibilities in designating leave as FMLA leave and employees' responsibilities in giving notice of FMLA leave;
  • defining actions employers may not take to avoid granting FMLA leave to employees;
  • allowing an employer's health care provider to contact the employee's health care provider for clarification of the medical certification, but continuing to prohibit requests for additional information; and

clarifying the FMLA's relationship with federal and state anti-discrimination laws, particularly the Americans with Disabilities Act, and workers compensation laws.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment Standards Bernard E. Anderson said, "We take very seriously our responsibility to protect workers and their families. We are proud of our record in successfully resolving more than 90 percent of the violations of FMLA since the law went into effect. We think this is partly attributable to the outreach and education efforts we put forth and, with these changes, this effort will be continued."

Single copies of new regulations and a fact sheet, which may be reproduced, are available from local offices of the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division.

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employment Standards Administration
January 5, 1995
Contact: David Roberts
Phone Number