I’ve been following the News Alerts and other features at Personnel Concepts and note that big changes are coming labor’s way next year even before the new president is sworn in on Jan. 20.

First, there are a lot of clarifications and updates to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). For one, it now covers not only private-section employees but also service members’ families, allowing them up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave in certain situations. (Everyone else gets up to 12 weeks, which can be taken intermittently.)

The so-called FMLA Final Rule also tightens up employer and employee communication standards. Gone are the days when an employee could disappear for a length of time and return to announce s/he had been on FMLA leave. Everything has to be done just as sick days and vacation requests–no more disappearing acts. For further details, read this.

The new FMLA regulations take effect on Jan. 16, 2009, but on New Year’s Day we’ll all be greeted with the implementation of the Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).

One labor lawyer whose advice I read announced, after reading the ADAAA, only half in jest that everyone now qualifies for a disability. From my reading of parts of the ADAAA, I would say that, yes, it’s now much simpler to seek “accommodations” for just about anything physical or mental. I just wonder how far some employees will go to test the limits of these workplace accommodations and looser definitions of disability.

For more details, read this.

Again, thanks to Personnel Concepts for keeping me updated on all these issues. The alerts and other information are all free at their Web site, www.PersonnelConcepts.com.