In January we discussed the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (the FAMILY Act), introduced in the Senate on December 12, but just this month Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) introduced legislation that would expand the already existing Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). Currently, FMLA only applies to those businesses that have at least 50 employees. This new legislation H.R. 3999: Family and Medical Leave Enhancement Act of 2014, proposes to expand FMLA to those businesses that have more than 25 employees working within 75 miles of one another.
Not only would this new legislation expand those businesses covered by FMLA, it would also increase the benefits available. The additional benefits would include 24 hours per year of unpaid Parental Involvement and Family Wellness leave. Eligible employees would be able to “participate in or attend an activity that is sponsored by a school or community organization and relates to a program of the school or organization that is attended by a son or daughter or a grandchild of the employee.” Not only would Parental Involvement and Family Wellness leave cover school or community programs, it would also allow eligible employees to “meet routine family medical care needs, including for medical and dental appointments of the employee or a son, daughter, spouse, or grandchild of the employee, or to attend to the care needs of elderly individuals who are related to the eligible employee, including visits to nursing homes and group homes.”
President Obama endorsed the protections in a June 2008 speech in Albuquerque, New Mexico, saying, “With more and more households headed by two working parents – or a single working parent – it’s also time to dramatically expand the Family and Medical Leave Act. Since more Americans are working for small businesses, I’ll expand FMLA to cover businesses with as few as 25 employees – this will reach millions of American workers who aren’t covered today. … We’ll allow parents to take 24 hours of annual leave to join school activities with their kids.”