Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which grants job-protected sick leave to those who are recovering or taking care of someone recovering from an illness or those who have had a new child.
The FMLA was signed into law on February 5, 1993 by President Bill Clinton and is still the only piece of legislation designed to help workers manage the balance between work and family life. Under the FMLA, workers can receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid sick leave in order to raise a new child within one year of birth or adoption; care for a spouse, child or family member with serious injury or illness; recover from a serious injury or illness; or receive up to twenty-six work weeks within a year when caring for a family member with a serious illness in the military ("military caregiver leave"). In 2010, the FMLA was expanded to include LGBTQ parents as well as relatives who act as primary caregivers. And in 2012, the Department of Labor changed the FMLA to include up to 12 weeks of exigency leave to assist a relative in the armed forces who is deployed on short notice in order to handle financial, legal, or childcare resulting from the deployment.
Despite the multiple gains of the FMLA, nearly half of all families who qualify for medical leave do not take it because they cannot afford [PDF] to take unpaid leave. In fact, according to Bureau of Labor statistics for 2011, 36% of all Americans age 25 -34 and 71% of Americans 15 - 24 did not have any paid sick leave.
Media Resources: The Atlantic 2/5/2013; Department of Labor 2/5/2013; "Family and Medical Leave in 2012: Technical Report" 9/7/2012; "Economic News Release" 8/16/2012; Feminist Newswire 1/31/2012, 6/23/2012
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .