The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – Business Research Paper (400 Level Course)
In the early stages of American civilization, employers had little to no commitment to their employees. This spawned horrifying working conditions and multitudes of injustices. The United States government has been traditionally slow to react to the difficult and unfair work settings forced on its people. It took the civil rights movement of the 1960’s to spark reform in many aspects of American life, including employee/employer relationships. One of the most radical, and recent, reforms the government has imposed is the Family and Medical Leave Act.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) went into effect on August 5, 1993. FMLA provides employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12 month period during which their jobs are protected. Job restoration is guaranteed unless the employee is unable to perform the essential functions of the job. FMLA covers a wide array of issues that we as humans face. Employees who are having a baby, adopting a child, are having serious health issues, or have a family member facing serious medical issues are eligible for the 12 weeks of unpaid time off that FMLA offers.
Although the FMLA is a great tool that the general population can use, there are also some stipulations that can protect the employer as well. First, only employers with over 50 employees are required to give leaves under the FMLA. The FMLA also does not require restoration of any ones job in its original state if the employee is incapable of doing the basic job duties. Another stipulation of the FMLA is the length of employment required by the employee before they are eligible for the leave. An employee must be employed by the employer for at least 12 months and work a minimum of 1250 hours.
As stated above, the FMLA was signed into law in 1993. This happened by no small effort of the American Association of University Women. The AAUW is a woman’s group that focuses on family life and the betterment of American home life. The AAUW had been a long time supporter of flexible work policies and from 1983 to 1992 were strong supporters of the FMLA. If it was not for the hard work the AAUW put into the propaganda and advertising of the FMLA than the American workers would of likely never have had the benefits that the FMLA offers.
The great working environments we thrive in today are products of many individuals and groups of people, such as the AAUW, who fought for equality and fairness in the past. 40 hour work weeks, equality in hiring practices, wage fairness and the FMLA are all blankets of protection that the United States government shelters its work force with. Employers are also realizing the rules like the FMLA, which is of no cost to employers, are actually increasing productivity and profits for companies due to the increase in employee moral. Employees that are happy and content in home life and feel their employers are supportive of themselves are much more likely to become highly productive members of the work staff.