In response to the increasing need for employees to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families, Congress passed the Family and Medical Leave Act. Without a policy like FMLA in place, many employees often would have had to choose between “the job they need and the family they love” (Hayes). The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 is the first national law created to help Americans balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of the family. It successfully helps bridge the gap between family and work and secures the right for both men and women to get unpaid leave and assistance when dealing with family related circumstances.
In as early as the 20th century, a number of lobbyist groups realized that
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Immediately, when brought up in congress, the efforts of the group was matched with opposition from business lobbyist groups; whom viewed the legislation as the first step in allowing federal issued mandates on business and proceeded to aid in delaying the passage of the bill. Business coalitions demanded amendments and compromises be added and adjusted into the bill in order to protect small businesses (AAUW). Congress agreed to the adjustments and in the early 1990s, both the house and senate passed the amended Family and Medical Leave bill, but both times it was vetoed by Republican President George HW Bush. In 1993, less than a month after taking office Democratic President Bill Clinton signed the bill turning it into the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.
The Family and Medical Leave Act provides eligible employees with the right to a job protected unpaid leave of absence for specific family and medical related reasons such as maternity/paternity leave, caretaker responsibilities or personal illness condition. “An eligible employee can utilize this leave for up to twelve weeks. An employee who exercises use of FMLA is entitled to continued health insurance coverage under the same terms as those supplied while regularly attending work and is guaranteed full reinstatement to the same or an equivalent position. FMLA covers employees at all public agencies without regard to the number of employees