by Michael Fox
Although not well publicized, last night the Senate accepted, without a roll call vote, Senator Feingold's amendment to the supplemental appropriations bill for the operations in Iraq, which would require employers to extend 12 weeks of FMLA leave to a spouse, child or parent of a member of the Armed Services on active duty in support of a contingency operation, which includes at least operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The text of the amendment, S. AMDT 1852 to S. 1869 can be found here. Hopefully, before it is considered in the conference committee, at least some attention will be focused on this expansion of the FMLA. But the patriotically entitled "Military Families Leave Act of 2003,'' may prove too hot politically for any politician to challenge. If not, the expansion of the FMLA, which continues to evolve as a major problem for employers in managing their workforce, may be a done deal before most employers even know it is being considered.
Update: Senator Feingold originally introduced this legislation on March 21, 2003 (S.B. 683) and it was referred to committee, but no hearings have been held.