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
5/1/2015 House Reverses DC Law Banning Reproductive Health Discrimination by Employers - The US House of Representatives voted Thursday night to overturn a Washington, DC, law that makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who use their insurance to cover procedures like in-vitro fertilization or abortion and contraception like birth control pills and IUDs for themselves, their spouses, or their children.
The District's council passed the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act last year. . . .
4/30/2015 400 Women and Children Have Been Rescued From Boko Haram in Nigeria - In two different operations in under a week, Nigerian troops have rescued more than 400 women and children who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram.
On Tuesday, Nigerian troops announced they rescued 200 girls and 93 women from Boko Haram - and today news has come out that troops rescued another 160 women and children.
While the news is promising and shows progress made in Nigeria to combat Boko Haram, the girls rescued were not the Chibok girls who inspired the #BringBackOurGirls movement last year. . . .
4/29/2015 Hillary Clinton Calls for Criminal Justice Reform and an End to Mass Incarceration - Hillary Clinton delivered the keynote address at the 18th Annual Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum today, addressing directly criminal justice reforms she would like to see to prevent another "incarceration generation."
"It's time the end the era of mass incarceration," Clinton declared to much applause, citing statistics about the disproportionately higher rate of incarceration that black men in America face. . . .