Coalition Challenges Dept. Of Labor Regulation

Compiled By Traci Purdum The Society for Human Resource Management, LPA Inc., and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed suit in U.S. District Court -- LPA, SHRM, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, et al. v. Herman -- to overturn the Clinton Administration's published regulation allowing states to use unemployment insurance funds to pay employees taking family leave. The Dept. of Labor's rule allows states to dip into their unemployment insurance (UI) trust funds to pay workers taking leave for the birth or adoption of a child. By dictating a fundamental change in the country's jobless-assistance program, the regulation circumvents Congress, and breaks a 70-year-old covenant between the government and the jobless, according to the groups filing suit to stop its implementation. In addition, this move marks a departure from the original Family and Medical Leave Act as passed in 1993, which rejected proposals requiring employers to pay employees taking family leave. "We are concerned about the precedent the Department is setting in circumventing the legislative process for such an important change in long-standing employment policy," SHRM Chairman Michael J. Lotito, SPHR. "It is Congress' role to make such a fundamental change. We advise states to hold off on implementing this regulation until the matter is settled in court."

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