Labor Law Guy

Proposed Law Extends FMLA to Part-Time Workers

Posted in Random Musings by laborlawguy on January 23, 2009

Under the existing provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act, employees at a firm with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius need to have worked 1,250 hours in the previous 12-month period to qualify for 12 weeks of unpaid leave (26 weeks if related to military service).

Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), however, has now introduced the Family Fairness Act of 2009 (H.R. 389) to eliminate the “hours of service” requirement, but not the 12 months of employment, so that both part- and full-time workers would qualify for FMLA leave.

“An important piece of labor law, the Family and Medical Leave Act, contains deficiencies that are harmful to working women, especially those with young children or elderly parents who rely on them,” Baldwin said. “The Family Fairness Act will move us closer toward equality for all workers.”

In 2007, almost 25 million people worked part-time and represented 16 percent of the workforce with two-thirds of these part-time workers being women. Many of them have small children or are attending school full time and do not have any choice but to work fewer than 35 hours a week, according to Baldwin. 

What next, 12 weeks of paid leave?

Anything’s possible in the current political environment, so if you’re an employer, hang on for a wild ride–or just retire now and enjoy the view from afar.


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