“This is the first-ever expansion of the nearly 15-year-old Family & Medical Leave Act, but it should not be the last,” Ness continued. “Family and medical leave is important to all families facing serious health problems. Lawmakers should look to expand the leave this law provides, for returning service members and for all Americans.”
Ness said the National Partnership is supporting legislation to expand the FMLA to cover more workers who need leave for more reasons, and pressing for paid family and medical leave for all workers. California has had paid leave in place since 2004.
At a time when the U.S. Department of Labor is considering new regulations, the National Partnership is urging the Bush Administration not to weaken the FMLA protections workers have relied on for 15 years. “We must move forward rather than turning back the clock,” Ness added, “and adopt policies that help America’s workplaces become more family-friendly so individuals can be productive workers and responsible family members.”
She thanked Senators Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Barack Obama (D-IL) for co-sponsoring the Support for Injured Servicemembers Act. Its enactment fulfills a key recommendation of the Commission on the Care for Wounded Warriors, which was led by former Senator Bob Dole and former Secretary of Health & Human Services Donna Shalala.
The FMLA was enacted on February 5, 1993, giving millions of Americans job-protected unpaid time off to care for their loved ones or recover from their own serious illness. By conservative estimates, more than 100 million Americans have used the unpaid leave the law provides
The National Partnership for Women & Families drafted and led the fight for the Family and Medical Leave Act. The organization is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.