FMLA to Turn into the FAMILY Act?

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January 8, 2014 — 2,646 views  

The FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) has been in force for a long time now. But it may soon be replaced by the newer FAMILY Act. Several experts identified shortcomings and problems with the FMLA that the FAMILY Act tries to correct. Both the acts cover the same area which is paid leave, medical leave, and family leave for employees. This area has long been a contentious issue with critics claiming that not enough leave benefits were available to most full-time employees.

Problems with the FMLA

Several problems in the FMLA have already been identified. These include the fact that paid leaves are not available to all employees. Only 12 percent of employees were covered under the previous arrangement. Another problem was that unpaid leave usually resulted in a deduction from the employee’s salary. This was completely unnecessary because many companies have sufficient funds to cover the cost of employee leaves.

Most employees who did not have paid leave suffered the most during times of illnesses or by an accident. This was especially true of those employees that had a large family to look after.

What is New in the FAMILY Act?

The FAMILY Act introduces several new provisions which try to rectify the shortcomings in the FMLA. These include the fact that now all employees, regardless of company size and regardless of whether they are temporary or permanent workers will now be covered under the paid leave program.

The new Act will be administered by the office of Paid Family Leave and Medical Leave which will come under the Social Security Administration. Some states have already enacted similar benefits for their employees. For those states, the FAMILY Act would not override the laws that are already in place.

The FAMILY Act was introduced into Congress in December 2013 and the legislative process could continue for some more time. In the meanwhile, most employees will have to wait for the act to be made into law before they can take its advantages.

It is hoped that the new FAMILY Act will help to provide a greater work life balance to most employees, regardless of whether they work for large or small corporations, or whether they are temporary or permanent employees. Under the new act, workers will have access to more leave time-- a large fraction of which will be paid leave-- which they can make use of any time of the year.

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