What is the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993?
The Family and Medical Leave Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton and required covered employers to allow employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for family and medical reasons. Eligible employees are entitled to twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for the birth or adoption of a child, a serious medical condition or a family member who has one, as well as military caregiver needs.
What's the significance?
The law applies to employees of covered employers, but only slightly more than half of all workers fall into this category, according to a 2000 estimate by the Labor Department. Critics have also suggested that by mandating leave that women use more than men, it makes women more expensive to employ and leads to subtle hiring discrimination. And while the Act protects workers from discrimination based on sex or pregnancy status, it doesn't explicitly protect them based on caregiving responsibilities. Some state and local governments have passed laws that counteract this loophole.
Who's talking about it?
June Carbone and Naomi Cahn call for changes in the Act to promote more family friendly workplaces...Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis explains how the Labor Department clarified the law to cover caregivers for children who share no biological connection...Labor Solicitor Patricia Smith announced that the Labor Department will be focused on enforcing the Act, "which ground to a halt'' under President bush...Democrats want to offer federal employees paid parental leave.