Is the Family and Medical Leave Act Enough in 2014?

April 11, 2014

Husbands go to work while wives stay at home to take care of children (or other medically needy family members). That’s what most medical-leave laws in the United States seem to presume. They are disconnected from the reality of diverse, modern family arrangements, and the absence of paid family-leave disproportionately affects women who work outside the home.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) signed by former President Clinton only protects a job from being lost when a “covered” worker takes care of family medical needs. It does not offer paid time away, and therefore does not cover folks who cannot afford to miss work without pay. Neither does it cover employees of small companies, nor part-time employees, nor those who experience an “unqualified” family crisis (like caring for a partner when one’s marriage is not legally recognized). This puts many families at serious risk.

Today’s link is from Irin Carmon, of MSNBC’s “Women in Politics,” who advocates for an updated version of the FMLA, one that allows for paid leave. Govtrack.us gives the bill (S.1810) a 0% chance of passing, and this highlights the need to remain vigilant and outspoken in our drive for equality.

Click to read the article on MSNBC’s website.

posted by Corbin Lambeth

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