Statement of Senator Barack Obama on the 15th Anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act
Senator Obama released the following statement on the 15th Anniversary of the Family Medical Leave Act going into effect.
"Fifteen years ago today, working families everywhere achieved a victory when the Family and Medical Leave Act went into effect. This groundbreaking law helps guarantee that America's workers shouldn't have to choose between their jobs or their health and the health of their families.
"Because of the FMLA, more than eighty million people have been able to take needed time off work to care for themselves or family members. Because of the FMLA, mothers and fathers can take time off work to care for a new baby without fear of being replaced by their employer, a daughter can take time to care for a bedridden father without fear of being reprimanded, and parents can take time to help a child recuperate after surgery without facing interruption in health insurance. And rather than harm employers, the FMLA has led to a boost in profits for many employers.
"As President, I will help fulfill the FMLA's promise. I'll expand the act to cover businesses with 25 or more employees, extending coverage to millions of workers and their families so that they will be able to take time off to care for a baby or an elderly parent - or just have a few hours to attend a parent-teacher conference or take a child to the doctor. I'll also expand permissible reasons for taking time off to include addressing domestic violence and sexual assault.
"And because millions of people a year who are covered by FMLA can't afford to take the time to which they're entitled, I'll assist states in adopting paid-leave systems. Strengthening the Family and Medical Leave Act won't just benefit employers or workers, it will help put the American Dream within reach for hardworking families."