Monday, February 11, 2013

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) seems to have limited practical effectiveness

The Washington Post Metro section Monday February 11, 2013 has a story (Brigid Schulte) about the 20th anniversary of the FMLA, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.  The print title is “Falling through cracks of leave act: 40% of workforce goes uncovered”,  link (website url)  here

The story gives anecdotes of workers with small employers, including non-profits, being demoted or fired after returning from medical leave, pregnancy, or even leave for spouses or even parents. 

The twelve weeks leave (the law generally applies if there are more than 50 employees) is unpaid, to prevent abuse.  But that then means real sacrifice if it is for another family member and not the self.

Nexsen Pruet explains FMLA basics in this video from 2009.

As I noted on a posting here Jan. 5, 2013, I faced the possibility of using it in 1999 for my mother.  I did not, and we hired a live-in home health aide for eight weeks while she recovered from coronary bypass surgery.  But of course, that only works when the “patient” (often a senior) has the money to pay for it, and it tends to exploit the labor of the less fortunate.  (How does a “live-in” have a life, when I do?). In an individualistic society, sacrifice is exactly that. 

Representative Jim Moran (D-VA, 8th District) sent out a tweet honoring the FMLA.
Some European countries require that employers offer paid family leave (which would tend to punish the childless, perhaps, indirectly).  

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