History of FMLA

Today, let’s look at the history of FMLA. The Family and Medical Leave Act guaranteeing employees unpaid time off for family or medical reasons was passed in 1993. Prior to that time, it was very common for employees to lose their jobs when they had a serious illness that required a week or more of time off work.

Before FMLA, women routinely lost their jobs when they took four weeks or more off to have a child. The result was limited career prospects for women. Some mothers even endangered their health by returning to work too soon, in an effort to protect their jobs. The law made no provision for employees to take time off to care for a seriously ill relative.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Family Leave Act (FMLA) provides a means for employees to balance their work and family responsibilities by taking unpaid leave for certain reasons. The act is intended to promote the stability and economic security of families as well as the nation’s interest in preserving the integrity of families. FMLA provides employees with unpaid time off after the birth or adoption of a child. In addition, the act provides employees with time off if they are seriously ill, or to care for a member of the immediate family who is seriously ill.

The employee is assured that when they return, they will have a job with comparable pay and benefits. It’s crucial that employers prominently post an approved FMLA poster in the workplace, even if they have no eligible employees. Employers are required to post a notice for employees outlining the basic provisions of FMLA and are subject to a $100 penalty per offense for willfully failing to post such notice. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against or interfering with employees who take FMLA leave.

Several states have family and/or medical leave acts that provide more benefits to the employee. In these states, the employee is subject tot the plan that provides the highest level of benefits.

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