University of Wisconsin–Madison

Paid Family & Medical Leave

Type Policy Brief or Report
Year 2016
Level County
State(s) All States
Policy Areas Children & Families, Civil Rights, Economic Justice, Health, Housing, Public Safety
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) was a momentous piece of federal legislation that secured the right of working Americans to take up to 12 unpaid weeks off of work for the birth of their child, to care for their newborn, to care for a loved one with a serious illness, or to respond to their own serious illness. Its passage represented a consensus that hardworking individuals should not lose their jobs if they become seriously ill and new mothers should be given time to recover from pregnancy and bond with their new child. However, over 20 years later, our country has fallen behind the rest of the world in paid leave protections. Workers are still not guaranteed any wage replacement while on medical leave and more than 40% of Americans do not qualify for leave under the FMLA at all. The United States remains the only advanced nation in the world that does not guarantee paid maternity leave for new mothers.

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