“America’s families have evolved, so helping parents and other caregivers keep their jobs while balancing their responsibilities in the home is key to our long- term economic success.”

So stated Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on July 10, 2010, announcing new Department of Labor initiatives addressing workplace flexibility.

To address issues related to work/life balance, the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division will conduct a new Family and Medical Leave Act survey in 2011 to provide insight into how families use leave.

The survey will provide a baseline data collection of current family workplace policies and practices, as well as information on regulatory changes. In addition, the Women’s Bureau intends to sponsor a supplement to the survey to gather more information on parental leave, child care, family leave insurance program usage, and other issues related to the intersection of work and family responsibilities.

Surveys such as these are often a precursor to regulatory change, which may include expanded leave rights and/or new regulations. Employers should be prepared—and indeed should seek out the opportunity—to participate in these surveys and also to submit comments to the DOL if there are proposed new regulations.

To read more about this, click here for our September FMLA newsletter.