Family and Medical Leave Act: provision changes may be coming

Big changes may be afoot for the structure of FMLA and for the future of Wisconsin workers. Under the current provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act, eligible employees of covered employers are given unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks in a 12-month period if they become critically ill or need to care for a family member or child. The changes are being pursued by Senator Kristen Gillibrand of New York, who believes that the current legislation — in place since 1993 — places unfair impositions on families and loved ones, forcing them to have to choose between family and career.

According to statistics, only 12 percent of American workers are eligible for paid family leave via providing employers. This number is not acceptable according to legislators and Sen. Gillibrand. The senator is working on new legislation that would update the current law passed in 1993.

The senator’s new legislation proposes a paid leave option that would be made available to every U.S. worker, no matter the size or type of employer. Under the legislation, The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act would create a program of job-protected paid leave on a federal level. The funding would come from contributions of .2 percent from employer and employee wages, and it would funnel into the Social Security Administration as an independent trust.

Every day, life presents circumstances for necessary time off work for U.S. employees. Unfortunately, some employers may put up roadblocks that could prove unnecessarily challenging, forcing employees to choose between career and serious family concerns. The Family and Medical Leave Act should protect most eligible Wisconsin employees, and strides are currently being made to legislation that may give traction to further advance employee security.

Source:, Paid family and medical leave could be law of land, Judy L. Randall, Dec. 12, 2013


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