Groups Representing Millions of Americans File Comments Urging Labor Department to Expand, Not Restrict Family & Medical Leave
National Partnership Urges Administration to Focus on Enforcement, Compliance
WASHINGTON, DC — February 16, 2007 — Dozens of organizations representing workers, children, seniors, veterans, women, people of color, people with disabilities and serious medical conditions, as well as faith-based and business groups and individuals who have benefited from the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are filing comments by today’s deadline urging the U.S. Department of Labor to refrain from restricting FMLA protections in any way. In addition to the National Partnership for Women & Families, which led the decade-long fight to enact the law, those filing or signing onto comments that urge the Administration to expand the law include AARP, AFL-CIO, American Diabetes Association, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, National Family Caregivers Association, National Women’s Law Center, Service Employees International Union, Women Employed, and 9to5.
On December 1, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a Request for Information (RFI) on the FMLA, a 14-year-old law that has allowed more than 50 million Americans to take job-protected unpaid leave to care for a new baby or seriously ill family member, or recover from their own serious illness. The law is widely seen as one of the most important advances for working families in decades, but a small number of business groups have urged the Administration to roll back the protections it provides. The RFI alarmed many advocates for family-friendly workplaces because of its sweeping approach that could open up many aspects of the FMLA for review.
“The Family & Medical Leave Act has been a tremendous success story,” said National Partnership President Debra L. Ness. “There is simply no reason to weaken a law that is making America’s workplaces more family-friendly and helping individuals be productive workers and responsible family members. We should expand the law to cover more workers who need leave for more reasons, and provide paid leave for the millions who cannot afford to miss a paycheck when new babies come or illness strikes. We urge the Administration to stand up for working families by saying ‘no’ to the small group of anti-FMLA businesses that want to weaken the law.”
Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) has announced plans to introduce legislation that will provide six weeks of paid family and medical leave to workers. California adopted paid leave in 2002, and benefits have been payable since July 1, 2004.
There is no deadline for Department of Labor action now that the deadline for filing comments is here.
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a non-profit, non-partisan 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.