History of the Family and Medical Leave Act

In 1984 the National Partnership for Women and Families (then known as the Women’s Legal Defense Fund) came up with the idea for the FMLA. Through tweaking, revamping, and organizing, this organization was able to get their proposal into the hands of congressmen, and subsequently get it brought before the president.

However, it was not as easy as just handing off the proposal. Congress is not known for easily passing laws, and from 1984 until 1993 the bill was repeatedly blocked. The battle continued, and working tirelessly the NPWF was able to get their bill through congress and onto President Bush’s desk in 1991 and in 1992. Both times it was vetoed.

Looking back it seems incredible that President Bush would veto the act. These are provisions that provide employees the right to keep their job while maintaining their health (and the health of their family). While there was no argument that the provisions of the law were great, the Bush Administration ended up blocking the bill both times because they felt it overstepped the bounds of the government. They did not want government to force employers to provide benefits that the employers should be providing anyway. While this worked in theory, the truth was without legal pressure, employers would not provide those benefits.

In 1993 President Bill Clinton took office, and just weeks into his presidency he signed the bill into law. August of 1993 saw it go into full effect.

Since its inception the FMLA has been amended. Both in 2008 and again in 2010 the act was amended to allow for greater coverage to those who are serving in the military. These amendments also helped with eligibility provisions for airline flight crew employees. Other minor amendments have taken place over the years.

Today the Family and Medical Leave Act helps employees make the most of their lives without stressing about their jobs. If they have a medical condition, or if they must take care of an ailing family member, they can take time off from work (up to 12 weeks per 12 month period) and not worry if their job will still be around when they return to work.

Contact Phillips Dayes

Phillips Dayes has been fighting for employee rights for many years. The highly trained employment attorneys have handled many cases where the employer has violated the employees Family and Medical Leave Act rights, and they are ready to help you fight for your rights as well. Fill out the contact form on this page, or call 1-800-917-4000 to schedule your free initial consultation.