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Is it time to make changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act?

| Nov 30, 2020 | FMLA |

Needing time off work can occur for many reasons. In some cases, a day or two to recover from a minor illness may be all that is needed. On the other hand, individuals who live with chronic illness or who have close family members who do may need extended time off to handle medical needs. For many the Family and Medical Leave Act allows for extended time off and job protection, under certain circumstances.

The FMLA was passed in 1993, and while many Washington, D.C. workers appreciate the protections it provides, it does not cover everyone. In fact, if a company has fewer than 50 employees, the employer is not required to follow FMLA guidelines. Currently, there are approximately six million companies in the United States with fewer than 50 employees, which leaves a lot of people without coverage under this act.

Though various other bills and laws have come into play to make up for areas where the FMLA is lacking, some believe that it is time to revisit the act and make some changes to better cover employees in small businesses. For some, this lack of coverage could result in their putting off having children because they work for a small business or own a small business and would not receive needed leave. In fact, some people speculate that the current FMLA terms may promote gender inequality as it is often women who have to choose between continuing in a small business and entrepreneurship or starting a family.

As of now, the current terms of the Family and Medical Leave Act are what employees have to work with. Even still, some employers may not follow the law and could deny qualifying workers leave or retaliate against them for taking leave. If any Washington, D.C., workers experience such violations, they may have reason to take legal action to address the issues.