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Will employees see a change to FMLA law soon?

When all the news is negative it can be easy to forget that workers in America have a great deal of legal protection that actually makes their jobs much better than in many other parts of the world. For instance, any of our Colorado readers familiar with previous posts here no doubt know the basic protections of the Family Medical Leave Act, also known as FMLA. The FMLA was implemented in order to help an employee who is either himself facing a medical issue, or who has a close family member who is facing a medical issue and will require the employee's care. Basically, an employee can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from their job under these circumstances, with no fear of losing the job.

The key issue some employees have with the FMLA, however, is that the period of leave is unpaid. Although many workers desperately need to take leave under the FMLA for a medical situation, some simply aren't able to because they cannot go without income for that long. A recent proposal in Congress is aiming to change that.

A recent report detailed the proposal, brought forward by a U.S. Senator, which would amend the current FMLA law. The proposal is to make the leave under the FMLA paid time off - paid at a rate of approximately 2/3 of the employee's income.

The Senator noted that America is an anomaly in that this country does not offer paid leave under these circumstances. She pitched the idea for the change as beneficial to employers, since an employee who is unable to take unpaid leave may actually have to quit - forcing the employer to go through the hiring and training process with another employee all over again. If this Senator can make her pitch and convince other members of Congress, we may be seeing changes to FMLA law sooner rather than later.

Source: CBS New York, "Gillibrand Pushes For Paid Family And Medical Leave For Nominal Cost To Workers," Jan. 23, 2014

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