Family Medical Leave Act 1993
Jessica Carmichael, Student
South University Montgomery
The Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. § 2601 was enacted on February 5, 1993 by President Bill Clinton during his first term, and happened to be the first bill he signed after his inauguration. In an article marking the 20th anniversary of the bill for Politico magazine, Clinton (2013) explains his reasons for signing the bill: “…single parent households have households had become much more common in America, growing from 16 to 27 percent of families between 1975 and 1992. Many children in these homes were living in poverty even when their parents, usually mothers, worked. …To this day, I receive more thanks from citizens for the FMLA than any other single piece of legislation I signed into law. Between 1991 and 1997, the percentage of full-time employees in large and medium-sized businesses taking maternity leave grew from 37 to 93 percent. By the time I had left office, 35 million Americans had taken leave, and estimates today suggest that number has grown to 100 million. They all have a story, like the father who brought his cancer-stricken daughter on a White House tour. He told me she was very ill and probably wouldn’t make it, but the months he’d taken off from work to be with her were the most important months of his life, or the flight attendant who told me about both her parents falling ill at the same time, with only her and her sister to take care of them. Without FMLA, they couldn’t have done it. She said, ‘All politicians talk about family values, but I think how your parents die is an important family value.’”
Although this article outlines the beliefs and motives of the 42nd President that signed this bill into an Act, a closer look at the necessity of the FMLA is necessary to understand its impact on society. FMLA was enacted in part to “protect the right to be free from gender based discrimination in the workplace”...