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Family And Medical Leave Act. Essay

1050 words - 4 pages

Employee Safety, Health, and Welfare Law Paper.On February 5, 1993 President Bill Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) into law, creating a national policy of granting workers up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave for pregnancy, infant care, or to care for themselves or family members in the event of severe injuries and illnesses.1 The Family and Medical Leave Act generally covers private-sector employers with more than 5 employees, and all public agencies. In order to be eligible for leave, employees must have been employed for at least one year, and have worked 1,250 hours over the prior year. The statute excludes employees at any worksite when the company has fewer than 50 employees working within 75 miles of that site.FMLA provides for leave in four situations:-for pregnancy;-to care for an infant (including newborns, adoptions, and newly-placed foster children)-to care for a relative with a serious health conditions; or-to allow the employee to recuperate from his or her own serious health condition.The idea of a federal leave standard was controversial, and remains so to this day. Supporters argues that, especially as more women entered the workforce, workers should have a legal right to take leave as needed to care for family members who were sick or injured, or to care for infants. Family leave would also allow workers to balance their commitments to work and family, making it easier for companies to retain employees.The basic impetus behind the law was ultimately a desire to assist families in the midst of a crisis. In floor debate, Representative Connie Morella (R-MD) cited "countless examples of employees who were fired as they or their families prepared to undergo surgery...families have lost their life savings in an effort to care for a dying child, or have lost their jobs for taking time to care for a newborn"-as her motivation for supporting the FMLA.2George H. W. Bush, Clinton's predecessor, had vetoed a similar bill in 1992, warning against federal policies that might "stifle the creation of new jobs or result in the elimination of existing jobs." While Bush supported legislation that would encourage employers to make leave available, he argues that his proposal, a tax credit for employers that establish a family leave plan, would be more flexible and would "foster a complementary relationship between work and family.2 With the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, however the enactment of a family leave law was assured. The FMLA had been a centerpiece of Clinton's presidential campaign, and after he took office FMLA was the first major piece of legislation Clinton signed. Since then, supporters of family leave have sought to amend the FMLA to cover more workplaces and provide for paid leave in place of the current unpaid leave. Critics of the FMLA, meanwhile, have focused on current Department of Labor regulations, which they allege go beyond the internet of the law and place unnecessary burdens on employers. The...

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