Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) today introduced the Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act, which will allow employees to take unpaid leave to care for a same-sex spouse or partner, parent-in-law, adult child, sibling, grandchild or grandparent.
"There is a growing force in America and in Congress that supports same sex marriage, and yet our federal laws are failing to keep pace," said Rep. Maloney. "FMLA provides almost 60 percent of the American workforce with leave protections but it is has been 20 years since that law passed and it needs an upgrade. That is why Sen. Durbin and I are introducing the Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act to allow same sex spouses and partners, grandparents, and other loved ones to take leave to care for a sick family member during times of medical need."
"Regardless of the make-up of one's family, all employees should be given the same rights to care for a sick loved one in a time of need," Sen. Durbin said. "For 20 years, we have had a law that provides unpaid leave for families in crisis. As families change, so should the laws designed to help them."
The landmark Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) allows millions of Americans to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work to care for a new baby or to care for a spouse, child under age 18, or parent who has a serious health condition.
While, groundbreaking at the time if its enactment, FMLA leaves a growing number of families unable to take advantage of the benefits that it provides. Under current law, employees are not permitted to take FMLA leave to care for a same-sex spouse or partner, making it impossible for some employees to be with their loved ones during times of severe medical need. The same restrictions apply to grandparents or adult children with serious health conditions, even if the employee is the only person that can provide the care needed.
The Family Medical Leave Inclusion Act is supported by over 80 organizations, including: National Association of Working Women; AFSCME; American Pediatrics Association; ACLU; Families USA; Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD); Human Rights Campaign; People for the American Way; SEIU; and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
The bill is cosponsored in the House by Reps. Jared Polis, John Conyers, Raúl M. Grijalva, Frederica S. Wilson, David N. Cicilline , Barbara Lee, Mark Pocan, William Keating, Susan Davis, Alan Lowenthal, Jerrold Nadler, Gwen Moore, Eliot Engel, Eleanor Holmes Norton, George Miller , Keith Ellison, and Earl Blumenauer.
The bill is cosponsored in the Senate by Senators Leahy (D-VT); Whitehouse (D-RI); Sanders (I-VT); Murray (D-WA); Coons (D-DE); Gillibrand (D-NY); Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Blumenthal (D-CT).