Twenty years ago today, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Family and Medical Leave Act, making a landmark shift in the nation’s employment leave policy. Allowing for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave upon the birth/adoption of a child, tend to a personal illness, or care for a sick spouse, parent or child, the law is being hailed today as a net success — yet even the law’s biggest champions acknowledge that the law’s limits still hamstring both employers and employees two decades later.
In honor of Tuesday’s anniversary, the Department of Labor released a survey of more than 2,800 U.S. employers and workers about how FMLA has affected them. The survey reveals that 16% of employees took FMLA leave within the last year, 56% of those being women. Most FMLA leave-takers (57%) did so due to a personal illness, while 22% used FMLA upon the birth/adoption of a child, and 19% did so to care for an ill parent, spouse or child.
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