FMLA Marks Two Decades of Service to America


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Former President Bill Clinton signs the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) on Feb. 5, 1993. Two decades later, the bill has helped more than 100 million workers keep their jobs while sick or caring for a new baby or seriously-ill family member.

February 5, 2013 marked the 20th birthday of the Family and Medical Leave Act, also known as FMLA.

The bill, which allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to workers recovering from a serious medical condition, providing care for a new child or seriously-ill family member, was the first bill signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

“There are few greater joys for me as a private citizen than seeing the impact the FMLA has had on hardworking Americans over the last 20 years,” said the former president in a recent op-ed. “In the face of new economic and social challenges, America found a way to revive what de Tocqueville called ‘the habits of the heart.’”

To date, FMLA has helped more than 100 million workers. But the fight continues for the millions of other workers who can’t use it because they are, either, not eligible or can’t afford to take unpaid leave.

Labor leaders are calling for an expansion of the law, as well as passage of the Healthy Families Act, which provides 40 million workers paid sick leave, and the Paycheck Fairness Act, which requires women get paid the same amount as their male counterparts working the same job.