As a woman who has worked since the age of sixteen, I have contributed countless hours of unpaid care for both my parents as they aged. Divorced and living in a different state, they both had terminal illnesses that required 24-hour care. As a result, it was necessary for me to take leave from my job to care for them shortly before their deaths, one in 1995 and the other in 2002. Both times, I took advantage of Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
The ability to take FMLA resulted in my parents not requiring public assistance and allowed them to remain in their homes until their deaths. I believe there are millions of other women who have provided countless hours of care to aging parents, spouses and children - providing a tangible unpaid service to this country. I am alarmed with the news that the U.S. Department of Labor is considering changing the regulations regarding FMLA that may prevent working Americans from providing caretaking duties to those who are in need. I urge you to retain FMLA in its current state to protect the jobs of those of us who provide loving care for family members.
I am writing to you in regards to FMLA. I am grateful and I think it’s wonderful that this law was passed to protect people with their jobs but what I disagree with is not getting paid when a family member is sick and you have to take care of them. I am a single mother of two children I can not afford not to get paid but I also need to take time off for my sick daughters. My daughter is going in for brain surgery and I will need to be out of work to take care of her so on top of the stress of her going in for this surgery is how I am going to pay my bills. I really think when you are on FMLA you should be able to get paid.
I am a midwife with 14 years of experience caring for low-income women in a major city and the mother of 2 young children. I personally went into debt so that I could stay home without pay for 12 weeks with each of my children. The younger one is almost 3 and I am still struggling to repay that debt. I also see my patients struggling to be the best mothers they can be while leaving their weeks-old babies at home with babysitters simply because they cannot afford to lose their jobs. How can it be possible that we are considering reducing the benefits of the FMLA when what we have now is shamefully inadequate? Please, if you value families and children, do not strip the FMLA. Rather, pass a law requiring paid maternity leave for all mothers, just as most other nations of the world have done.
I used the FMLA in order to take maternity leave. I was obliged to return to work 5 weeks after my baby was born because we couldn't afford financially for me to take any more time. I was still in pain, very weak, and should have been resting and bonding with my child. Please re-examine the FMLA in the context of what most other industrialized nations do. This FMLA is sorely inadequate. The lack of time I had to recuperate and spend with my child was heartbreaking and does not bode well for the fabric of family life and values in the USA.
I am in the process of using FMLA. My 9 year old son was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at the beginning of Nov. 2006. We face 29 weeks of treatment...due to chemo treatments. Chemo for kids consists of going to hospital for 4 or 5 days. Although I get 12 weeks of FMLA, I really need [more time to care for my son during chemotherapy]. I think the FMLA should be adjusted to fit what the sickness is. I don't get paid for time off so I will be financially strapped by the end. I have worked at my job for 29 years and may lose it due to not having enough time to take off for FMLA. I am a single parent and therefore anytime I miss is time not paid. I will probably lose my house, I"ll probably have to sell it if I can. I can't make very many payments. But I think FMLA needs to be adjusted for each emergency.
As a woman who has to work and support a family this law is essential to our survival as others and as caretakers. Please do not scale back this law. Instead the FMLA should give 12 weeks paid leave for all who have to use it, especially new mothers whom after 10 weeks with their new baby have to go back to work and leave our infant with strangers. Our government should really try to help new mothers instead of trying to take away the only relief for us.
I would like to briefly beg you to reconsider scaling back the FMLA laws. When I had my two daughters 8 and 10 years ago, I was allowed 6 weeks of unpaid leave. I surely didn't want to go back to work after 6 weeks, but I HAD to, my family could not afford for me not to, and we had money in the bank and good insurance. I only wonder what hardships other mothers who work must face who don't have money set aside, compassionate employers and insurance.
I recently used FMLA for the birth of my son. Because I was able to take about 10 weeks off, my son and I have a wonderful bond. I was able to establish a routine and he was eating well by the time I returned. I would have loved to stay home for longer, allowing me to nurse and continue expanding that bond while my son is still learning and exploring. My husband had recently started a new job and was only able to take a couple days off. Having him around after the birth would have been very helpful. I was exhausted and stressed, a combination that sometimes leads to depression, and was forced to take care of a new baby (our first) by myself. [My husband] didn't have the opportunity to bond with our son the way I did and he has missed out on many things. It is an exciting times in our lives and we are missing out on a lot of that because the law doesn't require paid leave and we couldn't afford to be out of work any longer.
Other family members have also recently used FMLA. This summer my grandmother passed away unexpectedly, leaving my 83 year old grandfather (with dementia) alone. A couple of my aunts were able to take FMLA in order to take care of him until a more permanent solution could be found. While they would gladly take care of him themselves they are unable to do so because of the financial issues that would arise from becoming a 1 wage earner family. With the stress and financial burden of a funeral already looming over them, they were forced to add to that stress because they were unable to work and weren't getting paid while on FMLA.
We live in a time when more women are working outside of the home, but that doesn't mean we don't still have the same responsibilities and issues arise within the home. It is time that the laws adapt to the changing times. Don't give up FMLA, make it better for everyone.