United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard issued the statement below in recognition of 20th Anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA):
“The FMLA was the first legislation that President Bill Clinton signed into law on Feb. 5, 1993, barely two weeks after taking the oath of office. It was also the first national legislation that established an employment standard acknowledging that men and women need time to care for family members or for personal illness without risking their jobs.”
“The USW was part of a purposefully broad, national grassroots coalition that fought for nearly a decade to pass the FMLA and included over 100 groups that represented labor, civil rights, religious, academic, medical and women’s and children’s advocacy organizations.”
“Since then, the law has helped millions of American men and women balance their work and family lives by requiring most employers to provide workers with 12 weeks of unpaid but job-protected leave due to an illness of their own or an immediate family member or for the birth or adoption of a child.”
“While FMLA has been very successful in strengthening families, keeping workers in their jobs, reducing turnover and saving businesses money, too many workers still do not have access to the benefit and many families living paycheck to paycheck cannot afford to take unpaid time off.”
“Studies show that workers who belong to unions are more aware of their rights under this law and as a result are more likely to use it. While we clearly have more work to do, today we reflect on how the FMLA has touched many of our families.”
Click Here to read United Steelworker member testimonials.