Published on: April 22, 2005The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Bush administration is considering revising the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which was signed into law in 1993 by President Bill Clinton and that supporters say has provided employees with the necessary flexibility to take care of sick relatives without fearing for the jobs.
Revisions would be linked to concerns expressed by employers about abuses of the law’s provisions. The paper reports that “a study released this week by the Employment Policy Foundation, which is partially funded by corporations, found that the federal leave law cost businesses about $21 billion last year. The survey analyzed businesses with more than 500,000 workers. The foundation also noted that the number of workers taking multiple leaves has grown 50 percent since 2000.”
The Journal-Constitution puts at 81 percent the number of US employers who say that intermittent leave has no impact on productivity.
- KC's View:
- This strikes us as an enormous political hot potato, and that changes in the FMLA could create heightened tensions between management and labor in this country – not a positive trend when a number of industries already could be accused of viewing workers as costs as opposed to assets.
At a time when companies are trying to roll back health care benefits because of the associated costs, employees would likely to bridle at the notion of cutting back on the flexibility of taking care of loved ones.
Now, if the changes mean that employees would have to get a doctor’s note in order to take leave – which some believe would be the extent of any revisions – that certainly doesn’t seem to be onerous.
But this will be a tough one for a lot of people to swallow.