Today, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee marked the 20th anniversary of the implementation of the landmark Family and Medical Leave Act, which was signed into law on February 5, 1993 by President Bill Clinton. On August 5, 1993, six months later, the protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act were implemented. President George H.W. Bush had earlier vetoed the Family and Medical Leave Act twice.
"Since its implementation 20 years ago, the Family and Medical Leave Act has been used more than 100 million times by workers to take unpaid leave to care for themselves, their new children and their family members without having to worry that their jobs will be gone when they return," Congresswoman Jackson Lee said.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave per year, to care for a newborn or newly-adopted child or care for their own or a close family member's serious illness. Over the last 20 years, due to the FMLA, mothers and fathers have taken time to care for infants. Pregnant women have taken time to care for themselves and seek medical help during complicated pregnancies. Adult children have taken time to care for ailing parents. Indeed, nearly everyone has, or knows someone who has, benefited from the FMLA.
"The Family and Medical Leave Act has helped millions of families manage their responsibilities at work and at home," Congresswoman Jackson Lee stated. "Now we need to build on the FMLA. House Democrats' When Women Succeed, America Succeeds: An Economic Agenda for Women and Families calls for improving FMLA by providing FMLA protections to more of the workforce and also exploring ways to expand access to paid, as well as unpaid, leave."
"Workplace policies need to reflect the new realities of the workplace," Congresswoman Jackson Lee concluded. "Almost half of all workers are women, and 40 percent of working women are the primary breadwinners in their families. We need to take further steps to help America's working women -- and all of America's workers -- better balance their responsibilities on the job with their responsibilities to their families at home."