National Partnership for Women & Families

Family & Medical Leave Act

Celebrating 20 years of job-protected leave — and working to help even more families.

Drafted by the National Partnership and signed by President Clinton in 1993, the FMLA is the nation’s first and only national law designed to help Americans meet the dual demands of work and family.

And it works. America's workers have used the FMLA more than 100 million times to take time off when they need it most, without having to worry about losing their jobs or their health insurance. (Read a short history of the FMLA or the detailed version.)

The FMLA guarantees eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year to care for a newborn, a newly adopted child or a seriously ill family member, or to recover from their own serious health conditions, including pregnancy.

But the FMLA was always intended to be just a first step. About 40 percent of the workforce is not eligible for leave under the FMLA. And millions of those who are cannot afford to take unpaid leave.

That's why the National Partnership, joined by a broad-based coalition, is working hard to safeguard this historic law, expand it to cover more workers and promote a national paid leave program.

It is time to take the next step toward a truly family friendly America. Join us.

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