Assessing the Costs of the Family and Medical Leave Act
25 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2008
Date Written: February 16, 2007
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 ("FMLA") allows eligible workers employed by covered establishments to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year. Employees may become eligible for FMLA leave when either the employee or a family member suffers from a serious health condition. Additional qualifying events include family-related responsibilities, such as the birth or adoption of a child. Various aspects of FMLA, as enforced by the Department of Labor, have become controversial, including specifically the provisions permitting employees to take "intermittent" leave for recurring health conditions. This paper reviews existing evidence on the benefits and costs of FMLA, concluding that the costs are likely much greater than the Department of Labor has acknowledged.
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