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
10/30/2014 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. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .