Happy 20th Birthday FMLA!

Employment Newsletter

On the 20th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued results of a survey of 1800 employers and 2,800 employees designed to measure the law’s impact on these constituent groups. Some of the survey’s more significant findings include:

  • Employer knowledge of the FMLA’s requirements has increased to 66%.
  • Most employers believe FMLA leave rights are broader than they actually are.
  • Only 15% of employers are covered by the FMLA (which applies to employers of 50 or more).
  • 59% of employees working for a covered employer meet the FMLA’s eligibility requirements (12 months of service 1,250 hrs. in the preceding 12 month period).
  • 57% of leaves are for employees’ own illnesses, 22% for pregnancy, and 19% to care for an ill family member.
  • 42% of leaves are for 10 days or less, and only 17% exceed 60 days.
  • 24.1% of leaves are on an intermittent basis, and few employers reported negative impacts from intermittent leaves.

In addition, the survey found that if coverage were lowered to employers with 20 or more employees (President Obama’s 2008 initiative looks to lower the requirement to 25), eligibility rates would rise from 59% to 67%. Finally, although some of our readers may disagree, the DOL’s press release claims that the survey’s findings indicate that “employers generally find it easy to comply with the law, and misuse of the FMLA by workers is rare.”

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