FMLA - Balancing the Needs of Families and Employers

A recent Department of Labor report released January 9th, 2001, assessed the overall effectiveness of the FMLA in “meeting the needs of employees without imposing undue burden on employers”. The Department of Labor has compiled new survey data for 2000, updating the 1995 employee and establishment survey data that was used in the earlier report titled, A Workable Balance: Report to Congress on Family and Medical Leave Policies.

Below is a summary of the findings:

Employees’ Use of Leave

  • The number of employees using or taking leave for family and/or medical reasons remained roughly the same – 16.5 percent in 2000 / 16 percent in 1995
  • Employees took leave for other reasons then their own health issues such as caring for a newborn, adoptions or care for a parent or spouse
  • The vast majority of employees taking leaves cited positive effects for both their family’s physical and emotional health
  • Over half of employees taking a leave said that financial concerns arose from their leave (only two-thirds of leave takers received some pay during their leave
  • 75 percent of the women taking leaves had young children compared to 45.1 percent of the men taking leaves
  • In 2000 more employees considered the FLMA more favorably than in 1995 with over 80 percent agreeing that every working person should be able to have up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for family and medical problems.
    Employers’ Policies and Practices
  • The majority of businesses provide up to 12 weeks of leave for their employees’ own serious health conditions, for mother’s maternity-related reasons, for parents’ care for newborns, and for employees’ care for a child, spouse, or parent with a serious health problem and nearly half provide up to 12 weeks of leave for adoption or foster care
  • In 2000 there was a significant increase in the number of employers reporting difficulties in maintaining extra records, determining employee eligibility, and coordinating the act with other leave policies
  • But they also reported that the FLMA had no noticeable effect on profitability, productivity or growth.

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