The Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, was passed 25 years ago. This act had major implications in employment law for Wisconsin employees and others all across the nation. While the FMLA provides protection for workers when they must take off work for medical-related reasons, the time off they receive is unpaid. Many advocates believe that some level of paid leave is needed for workers.
FMLA allows employees to take leaves for the birth or adoption of a child, to care for certain family members, or to recover from a personal medical condition. While it is certainly positive to have the protections provided in the Act, experts cite some of the issues surrounding it. Many employees simply cannot afford to take off 12 weeks from work without pay, especially if it involved an unexpected accident or illness. Since women are the most likely to take the leave after a new baby, some contend it can negatively affect their long-term career prospects.
Many European countries provide paid leave to either parent following the birth or adoption of a child. Proponents of paid leave for the United States are pleased that the current FMLA goes beyond maternity leave, as many other countries do. They propose building on that framework and becoming a world leader with a plan that encourages equality, care and diversity.
Though the Family and Medical Leave Act has been in existence for over two decades, there are still those employees who have been denied leave or have experienced discrimination after they have returned to work following a leave. In these situations, it would be beneficial to contact a Wisconsin employment law attorney. A respected lawyer will help employees understand the rights and protections they have under the FMLA.
Source: slate.com, "The U.S. is decades behind the world on paid leave", Jessica Mason, Feb. 6, 2018