Family Medical Leave Act of 1993
How It Works
The FMLA is designed to allow employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12 month period for the 1) birth or adoption of a child or 2) care of a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, or the employees own illness.
Leave time may be applied to a 12-week block of time, as many use for maternity and paternity leave, or may be used intermittently. Intermittent or reduced schedule leave may be taken for either planned or unanticipated medical reasons. Thus, for children with special health care needs, parents can use FMLA time for either a prolonged hospitalization or intermittently for physician or therapy appointments.
FMLA applies broadly to employees in government and private establishments. However, there are limitations. For example, employees who work in a business that employs less than 50 people are not eligible for FMLA leave. Eligibility for FMLA also requires employees to have worked for 12 months with their employer and have accumulated 1,250 hours for their employer for the 12 months preceding the leave period.
The FMLA was passed by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton in February 1993 and went into effect in August 1993. Since then, a number of changes have been proposed, both to strengthen and weaken the program. None of the changes have gone into effect. There have been many legal challenges to the FMLA, most of which are centered on determining the definition of a serious health condition.
Approximately half of the workers in private establishments work in a business that employs less than 50 people and 20% of all workers do not meet the length and/or accumulated hours criteria for FMLA. Unfortunately, parents with young children and the â€œworking poorâ€ are the less likely to have access to leave than other groups. Loosening the eligibility requirements would greatly assist these families.
- US Dept of Labor - Family Medical Leave Act
- American Federation of State, Country, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
- United States Department of Labor. Compliance Assistance-Family Medical Leave Act. Available at: http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/fmla/
- American Federation of State, Country, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). The Family Medical Leave Act: AFSCME Comprehensive Guide. Available at: http://www.afscme.org/publications/1199.cfm