skip to main content

H.R. 3751 (105th): Family and Medical Leave Clarification Act

The text of the bill below is as of Apr 29, 1998 (Introduced).

HR 3751 IH


2d Session

H. R. 3751

To amend the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.


April 29, 1998

Mr. FAWELL (for himself, Mr. GOODE, Mr. STENHOLM, Mr. PICKETT, Mr. HALL of Texas, and Mr. PETERSON of Pennsylvania) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce, and in addition to the Committees on Government Reform and Oversight, and House Oversight, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


To amend the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    (a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the ‘Family and Medical Leave Clarification Act’.

    (b) REFERENCES- Whenever in this Act an amendment is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to that section or other provision of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

    (c) TABLE OF CONTENTS- The table of contents is as follows:

      Sec. 1. Short title; references; table of contents.

      Sec. 2. Findings.

      Sec. 3. Definition of serious health condition.

      Sec. 4. Intermittent leave.

      Sec. 5. Request for leave.

      Sec. 6. Substitution of paid leave.

      Sec. 7. Certification requirements.

      Sec. 8. Regulations.

      Sec. 9. Effective date.


    The Congress finds as follows:

      (1) The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (in this section referred to as the ‘Act’) is not working as Congress intended when it passed the Act in 1993. Many employers, including those nationally recognized as having generous family-friendly benefit and leave programs, are experiencing serious problems complying with the Act.

      (2) The Department of Labor’s overly broad regulations and interpretations have caused many of these problems by greatly expanding the Act’s coverage to apply to many non-serious health conditions.

      (3) Documented problems generated by the Act include significant new administrative and personnel costs, loss of productivity and scheduling difficulties, unnecessary paperwork and record keeping, and other compliance problems.

      (4) The Act often conflicts with employers’ existing paid sick leave policies and prevent employers from managing absences through their absence control plans and results in most leave under the Act becoming paid leave.

      (5) The Commission on Leave, established in title III of the Act, which reported few difficulties with compliance with the Act, failed to identify many of the problems with compliance because its study was conducted too soon after the enactment of the Act and the most significant problems with compliance arose only when employers later sought to comply with the Act’s final regulations and interpretations.


    (a) AMENDMENT- Section 101(11) (29 U.S.C. 2611(11)) is amended by adding after and below subparagraph (B) the following:

      ‘The term ‘serious health condition’ does not cover short-term conditions for which treatment and recovery are very brief. Conditions covered include, for example, heart attacks, heart conditions requiring extensive therapy or surgical procedures, strokes, severe respiratory conditions, spinal injuries, appendicitis, pneumonia, emphysema, severe arthritis, severe nervous disorders, injuries caused by serious accidents on or off the job, ongoing pregnancy, miscarriages, complications or illnesses related to pregnancy, such as severe morning sickness, the need for prenatal care, childbirth, and recovery from childbirth.’.


      (1) REPEAL- The regulations of the Secretary of Labor, published at sections 825.114 and 825.115 of title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and opinion letters promulgated thereunder shall be null and void on the effective date of final regulations issued under paragraph (2).

      (2) NEW REGULATIONS- The Secretary of Labor shall revise the regulations referred to in paragraph (1) and shall issue proposed regulations making such revision not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act and shall issue final regulations not later than 180 days after such date of enactment.

      (3) TRANSITION- With respect to leaves and requests for leave made under section 102 of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 occurring

before the effective date of the final regulations under paragraph (2), an employer may rely on the regulations of the Secretary referred to in paragraph (1). In any action to enforce the requirements of such Act pending on or after the effective date of such final regulations, no provision of the regulations referred to in paragraph (1) may be cited as evidence of an employer’s non-compliance with such Act.


    Section 102(b)(1) (29 U.S.C. 2612(b)(1)) is amended by striking the period at the end of the second sentence and inserting the following: ‘as certified by the health care provider after each leave occurrence. An employer may require an employee to take intermittent leave in increments of up to one-half of a work day. Employers may require employees who travel as part of their normal day-to-day work or duty assignments to take leave for the duration of that work or assignment if the employer cannot reasonably accommodate the employee’s request to take leave intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule.’.


    Section 102(a) (29 U.S.C. 2612(a)) is amended by inserting after paragraph (2) the following:

      ‘(3) REQUEST FOR LEAVE- When an employer does not exercise under subsection (d)(2) the right to substitute other employer provided leave for leave under this title, an employer may require an employee who wants leave under this title to request in a timely manner such leave. If required by the employer, an employee who fails to make such a timely request may be denied leave under this title.

      ‘(4) TIMELINESS OF REQUEST FOR LEAVE- As used in paragraph (3) of this subsection, a request for leave is timely if--

        ‘(A) in the case of foreseeable leave, the employee provides the applicable advance notice required by subsection (e) and submits any written application required by the employer within 5 working days of providing the notice to the employer; and

        ‘(B) in the case of unforeseeable leave, the employee notifies the employer verbally of the need for the leave no later than the time the leave commences and submits any written application required by the employer within 5 working days of providing the notice to the employer, except that the 5-day period will be extended as necessary if the employee is physically or mentally incapable of providing notice or submitting the application.’.


    Section 102(d)(2) (29 U.S.C. 2612(d)(2)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

        ‘(C) PAID ABSENCE- Notwithstanding subparagraphs (A) and (B), with respect to leave provided under subparagraph (D) of subsection (a)(1), where an employer provides paid absence under an employer’s collective bargaining agreement, a welfare benefit plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, or under any other sick leave, sick pay, or disability plan, program, or policy of the employer, an employer may require the employee to choose between such paid absence and unpaid leave provided under this title.’.


    Section 103(b)(3) (29 U.S.C. 2613(b)(3)) is amended to read as follows:

      ‘(3) the appropriate medical facts, which must be documented by objective medical findings.’.


    (a) GENERAL RULE- Except as provided in section 3(b)(2), not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Labor shall review and revise all regulations promulgated before such date to implement the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to reflect the amendments made by this Act.

    (b) With respect to actions taken by an employer before the effective date of such revised regulations, compliance with the regulations in effect before such date shall be deemed to constitute full compliance with this Act. After the effective date of this Act, the Secretary may not enforce regulations in effect before such date.


    The amendments made by this Act shall take effect upon the expiration of 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.