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FMLA Rollbacks: Bush Sticks it to Workers, Again

November 20, 2008

With just two months left in his disastrous administration, President George W. Bush still hasn't tired of making life harder for American workers.

Eight years ago, as one of his first acts in office, Bush killed the brand-new, ergonomics rule that was created by members of both parties to protect workers' safety and health. Last week, Bush signed new rules making it tougher for workers to take Family and Medical Leave.

"Workers will find that they must give more notice, more information, have more medical examinations and respond to employer requirements in shorter time frames," said Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership, a group advocating FMLA. "Employers, on the other hand, would have more time to respond to employees' request for FMLA leave and more ways to delay or deny FMLA leave."

Ness was one of many worker advocates to testify and offer written testimony to the Labor Department regarding the proposed rule change. In the end, the changes were made almost exactly as the Bush administration originally proposed.

President-elect Barack Obama, who supports expanding FMLA, could reverse the changes. But experts say doing so will require a lengthy regulatory process.