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Mayor Makes Request to State Legislature to Remove State Family and Medical Leave Act

The mayor of Anchorage, Alaska has requested that the Alaska state legislature remove the state's family and medical leave act. The request would not affect Alaska state residents covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. Alaska's state family and medical leave act gives public employees an additional six weeks of leave beyond what the federal law allows.

The Mayor's request is a part of a booklet to the state legislature that outlines, "More effective and efficient government." The mayor's employee relations director says the idea to repeal the state law was hers. She believes the administration of the state and federal medical leave acts is too much of an administrative burden and is too time-consuming and cumbersome. She says that at any given time about 10 percent of the Anchorage city work force of 2,800 people is out on family or medical leave.

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act covers employees who are employed by the public or private sector. Employees must work at an employer of a certain size to be covered by the federal law. The law provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave, and employers have to maintain employees' health plans. Employees jobs are also protected during leave time. Under the Alaska state family and medical leave act only public employees are covered. Public employees received up to 18 weeks of paid or unpaid leave for medical or family reasons. The mayor's request is not well known among all city and state officials. The executive director of the Alaska Municipal League said the issue has not been brought up.

Source: Anchorage Daily News, "Mayor Wants State to Repeal Family and Medical Leave Act," Rosemary Shinohara, 12/9/10

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