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RUNNING HEAD: POLICY BRIEF

Policy Brief
H.R.1- Family and Medical Leave Act
Katie Knights
Smith College

POLICY BRIEF

Social Issue
A job can interfere in allowing an individual the right amount of time to affectively be
available for the birth of a newborn child, for the placement of a child for adoption or foster care,
their own serious health conditions, or a qualifying family members health conditions. The
Family Medical Leave Act was implemented to improve the labor force and to develop a sense of
reliability, fairness, and manageability among specific employers that request time off for the
specified reasons.
The Policy. H.R.1 Family and Medical Leave Act.
In1984,theWomensLegalDefenseFundcreatedtheoriginaldraftofthelegislation,
whatisnowknownastheFamilyandMedicalLeaveActof1993.RepresentativePatricia
SchroederandhercolleaguesintroducedH.R.2020,theParentandDisabilityLeaveActLawon
April4of1985(.Inthemid80s,few(ifany)stateshadestablishedfamilyleavepolicies.Every
yearfor9years,theFamilyandMedicalLeaveActwaspresentedtocongresstoapprove,and
everyyearfor9years,theActwasturneddown.Thebillwaseventuallypassedbythe101stand
the102ndCongresses,however,PresidentBushvetoedthelegislationonJune29,1990.Inlate
1991,supportersattheconferencecommitteetriedtopersuadethePresidenttopassthebillinan
electionyear.ThissuccessfullyresultedinbothhousesofCongresspassingH.R.1theFamily
andMedicalLeaveActof1993.PresidentClintonfinallysignedtheFamilyandMedicalLeave
ActintolawinFebruaryof1993(Monroeetal.,1995).
Major Policy Provisions
TheFamilyandMedicalLeaveActof1993grantsupto12weeksofunpaidleaveto
entitledemployeesincasesofbirths of a newborn child, the placement of a child for adoption or
foster care, and own serious health conditions or a qualifying family members health conditions

POLICY BRIEF

acquiring attention. A serious health condition adheres to care requiring inpatient care or
continued treatment by a health care provider due to illness, injury, impairment, and a physical or
mental condition. Impatient care is any overnight stay mandated by a hospital, hospice, or
residential medical facility, and continued care is treatment required for pregnancy, chronic
conditions, terminal illnesses, long-term illnesses, or necessary attendance of appointments,
requiring multiple absences from work, to receive proper treatment.
The Family and Medical Leave Act is executed for private establishments with 50 or
more employees, public agencies, public elementary schools, public secondary schools, private
elementary schools, or private secondary schools. Under 48. Id. Section 2611(2) of the Family
and Medical Leave Act, an eligible employee is defined as an employee that has been employed
by the qualified employer for at least 12 months, has worked 1,250 hours within their 12-month
work employment, and is employed at a workplace with 50 or more employees, within a 75-mile
radius. A 12-month period is defined differently based on the employer. A 12-month period can
be referred to as a calendar year, any fixed 12-month leave year, a 12-month period measure
forward, or a rolling 12-month period measure backward. Each employer defines the proper
definition of a 12-month work employment.
IfrequestingFamilyandMedicalLeavetoassistinprovidingcareforafamilymember
sufferingfromdebilitatinghealthconditions,aqualifiedfamilymemberisabiologicalparent,
adoptiveparent,anindividualactingasinlocoparentis,astepfather,stepmother,fostermother,
fosterfather,ahusbandorwifedefinedbythestate,includingcommonlawmarriageandsame
sexmarriage,asonordaughterthatisbiological,adopted,stepchild,legalward,orachildofa
parentwhoisactingasinlocoparentis,andiseitherunder18yearsofageorover18yearsof
ageandrequirescareduetoamentalorphysicaldisability.

POLICY BRIEF

ItisimportanttonotethattheFamilyandMedicalLeaveActmandatesaspecial
extendedleaveentitledtocaregiversofarmedforcesmembers.Ratherthe12weeksofunpaid
leave,upto26weeksunpaidleavewillbegrantedtoindividualsthatcareforaservicemember
injuredinactiveduty.Therearealsoexceptionsmadeforairlineflightcrews.Airlineflight
crewsareentitledto72daysofleave.
TheFamilyandMedicalLeaveActprincipallyprotectsandguaranteesthatwhenan
eligibleemployeereturnsfromtheirFamilyandMedicalLeaveofabsence,thattheywill
returntotheiroriginalpositionoranequivalentone.AneligibleemployeeundertheFamilyand
MedicalLeaveActisalsorequiredtocontinuereceivingemployeebenefits,suchashealth
insurance,whileonFMLAleave. ThereisnopayowedtotheemployeewhoisonFMLA.
However,accruedpaidmedicalorsickleavemaybesubstitutedforFMLAleave.
In 2008, the Department of Labor revised a provision, altering the ways in which
employees substitute accrued paid leave for unpaid FMLA leave. This Harvard Law Review
evaluates the language of the act and the effects and implementations of the provisions. It is
proposed that the 2008 provision could potentially render the Act useless for many workers
whom the FMLA was enacted to protect, (Employment Law 604).
Critique
Overall, the FMLA represents a fundamental change in the way American employers are
required to acknowledge and accommodate employees and their families (Rigler, 1995, p. 2).
Many states do not implement ample state legislations dealing with an employers obligation to
grant leaves of absence to accommodate employees familial needs ands responsibilities. In many
case scenarios, leave for the specified reasons is dictated primarily by the terms of the federal
Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. (Rigler, 1995, p. 1). Although the provisions of the

POLICY BRIEF

Family and Medical Leave Act specify which employers and employees are entitled under the
Act, there are other rules and regulations that limit an employers FLMA coverage. By way of
comparison, the FMLA statue is less than 30 pages long while the FMLA regulations exceed 100
pages, which indicates the degree to which the regulations attempt concrete explanation and
implementation of work and family policies, (Davis, 2012, p. 11).
In the article Analysis and Understanding of the Family and Medical Leave Act of
1993, the author Jane Rigler, provides case examples of employers that were protected under
the Family and Medical Leave Act and others that were not. A forty-three-year-old law professor
residing in Pennsylvania needed to request work off in order to care for her mother, a retired
woman that was recently diagnosed with cancer. The dean of the law school was able to approve
the law professor family and medical leave, only through the legislation of the Family and
Medical Leave Act of 1993.
Employers that qualify under the Family and Medical Leave Act are compromised if they
are considered a public agency, such as a small public agency in a village or a town. Even though
the employer meets all other qualifications, the sole fact that because they are a public agency
and do not employ more than 50 employees, they are excluded in offering the Family and
Medical Leave Act to their employees.
One of the reasons the Family and Medical Leave was implemented was to produce fairness
among eligible employers. Eligible employers, however, are not only eligible employers that
work for private establishments with 50 or more employees, public agencies, public elementary
schools, public secondary schools, private elementary schools, or private secondary schools, and
has completed 1,250 hours employed within a 12-month period. Eligible employers of the
Family and Medical Leave Act must also not be labeled a key employee, a salaried eligible

POLICY BRIEF

employee who is among the highest paid 10 percent of the employees employed by the employer
within 75 miles. If both husband and wife work for the same company and want to take leave,
the couple can only take a combined amount of leave time of 12 weeks.
FortheFamilyandMedicalLeaveAct,aqualifiedfamilymemberisabiologicalparent,
adoptiveparent,anindividualactingasinlocoparentis,astepfather,stepmother,fostermother,
fosterfather,ahusbandorwifedefinedbythestate,includingcommonlawmarriageandsame
sexmarriage,asonordaughterthatisbiological,adopted,stepchild,legalward,orachildofa
parentwhoisactingasinlocoparentis,andiseitherunder18yearsofageorover18yearsof
ageandrequirescareduetoamentalorphysicaldisability.WhattheFMLAdoesnotconsider
areandnontraditionalfamilymembersoreveninlaws.AccordingtoPewResearch,lessthan
halfofkidsintheUnitedStatesliveinatraditionalfamily.Therestofthepopulationlives
withaunts,uncles,friends,andotherextendedfamilymembers,whoarenotconsidered
protectedundertheFamilyandMedicalLeaveAct.Tobeconsideredanindividualactingasin
locoparentisrequiresmoneyandadditionaltimetoattendcourtcasesandotherrequired
stipulations.
Whenfamiliesfail,thecommunityislefttograpplewiththetragicconsequencesof
emotionallyandphysicallydeprivedchildrenandadults,(Rigler,1995,p.3).TheFamilyand
MedicalLeaveActdoesnotoweanypaytoemployees.Familiescanalsofailbecauseof
financialinsecurities.IftheFamilyandMedicalLeaveActofferedpaytoemployeesneeding
leaveforreasonsassociatedundertheFMLA,monetaryfundscouldhelpalleviatestressonthe
employerandfamily.

POLICY BRIEF

References

Cabassa, L. (2003). The Family Medical Leave Act-Ten Years Later. The Florida Bar
Journal, 69-73.

Davis, K. (2012). Work and Family Identities in Regulatory Rulemaking: A Rhetorical


Analysis of the Family and Medical Leave Act Regulatory Rulemaking Process. Arizona
State University Dissertation for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy.

Employment Law Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 Department of Labor
Regulations Alter Substitution of Paid Leave Provision under the Fmla. Fmla Final
Rule, 73 Fed. Reg. 67,934 (Nov. 17, 2008) (Codified at 29 C.F.R. Pt. 825 (2009)).
(2009). Harvard Law Review, 123(2), 604-611.

Fact Sheet #28: The Family and Medical Leave Act. In U.S. Department of Labor- Wage
and Hour Division.

Family and Medical Leave Policy. (1988). Congressional Digest, 129-160.

Guide to the Family & Medical Leave Act: Questions & answers (4th ed.). (1998).
Washington, DC: National Partnership for Women & Families.

Jacoby, N., & Squire, M. (2012). Family and Medical Leave Act Potpourri: Proposed

POLICY BRIEF
Rules and Recent Case Law. Employee Relations Law Journal,38(2), 2-35.

Monroe, P., Garand, J., & Teeters, H. (n.d.). Family Leave Legislation in the U. S.
House: Voting on the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1990.Family Relations, 46-46.

Rigler, J. (1995). Analysis and understanding of the Family and Medical Leave Act of
1993. Case Western Reserve Law Review, 45(2), 457.

Schott, R. (n.d.). The Family and Medical Leave Act: Impact on the Law Enforcement
Employer. PsycEXTRA Dataset.

United States. Cong. Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. 103rd Cong., 1st sess. Cong
Public Law 103-3. Washington, DC: n.p., 1993. The Family and Medical Leave Act of
1993, as Amended. U.S. Department of Labor. Web. 10 Aug. 2015.