FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Labor Department's Request for Information On the Family & Medical Leave Act is Alarming, Nation's Leading Expert Says
Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, DC — November 10, 2006 — "Today's U.S. Department of Labor 'Request for Information' on the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is cause for real concern for everyone who wants to see America’s workplaces become more family- friendly and help individuals be productive workers and responsible family members.
The FMLA is one of the most important advances for working families in decades. In the 13 years since it was enacted, workers have benefited from the FMLA while businesses have thrived. More than 50 million Americans have taken job-protected unpaid leave to care for a new baby or seriously ill family member, or recover from their own serious illness. As a result, fewer Americans have had to choose between work and family when illness struck or a new baby came.
That’s real family values at work and that is why, last year, more than 200 diverse groups came together to urge the Bush Administration not to roll back key provisions of the FMLA. Religious organizations, seniors, disability and veterans groups, women’s and civil rights advocates signed a letter urging the Department not to scale back one of the few supports that American families currently have.
The Department is requesting a broad range of information about employer and employee experience with the FMLA. An honest and objective review of this experience will only reinforce the importance of this law and the need to expand, not contract, the protections we afford working families.
This will be a time for the Administration to stand up for working families by saying ‘no’ to the small group of anti-FMLA businesses that want to weaken this essential law.
The Family & Medical Leave Act is a real success story. We should be putting our energy into expanding it to cover more workers and into making paid family and medical leave, and paid sick days, available to all."
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.