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Question: Are you aware of any federal legislation or court cases that could change parts of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

Answer: As is the case with many labor laws, there are always changes and updates to the body of the laws based upon numerous ongoing interpretations form the courts. In fact, the most recent update on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) came about recently with the release of the proposed rule revising the definition of spouse to include same-sex spouses. The proposed rule can be found on the Department of Labor website at http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/nprm-spouse/NPRM.pdf.

There are also several opinions right now on the impact of the ruling on Escriba v. Foster Poultry Farms, Inc.743 F.3d 1236 (9th Cir. 2014). This case is significant because there are few, if any, reported cases until this one that have recognized the right of employees to expressly decline FMLA leave where the reason for the leave would be protected under the FMLA.

As these type of changes come about, we will include the information in our monthly HR law Alerts that you may receive by email, so be sure to read those alerts to be current regarding any new changes. You can also review past editions by logging in to the HR resource center and choosing Leave — FMLA, then selecting FMLA Opinion Letters under Additional Resources at the bottom of the page.