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Family and Medical Leave Act may be supplemented by paid leave

Increasingly, employers recognize the importance of allowing employees time away from work to take care of an addition to the family or a sick family member. Twenty-five years ago, the federal government passed a law called the Family and Medical Leave Act. The FMLA allows workers at larger companies up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave without endangering one's job. Now, some states like California also offer paid family leave. Experts believe that the push to expand paid family leave will continue. 

Right now, paid family leave is the law in only four states, but at least two more locations are on the way to passing similar laws within two years. Employers and employees alike feel that this type of leave is compassionate and also makes their companies more competitive in the labor market. Some smaller companies wish to provide paid or unpaid leave, but financial constraints prevent them from doing so. 

FMLA requires companies with 50 or more workers to provide unpaid leave for certain qualified events. Those events include the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for an ill family member. Most newer paid leave programs use a similar model when drafting paid leave requirements. 

The Family and Medical Leave Act has built a strong foundation for employee benefits. California has built upon this foundation to include some paid leave as well. A worker in the state who took time off and was penalized or not paid for the time off may wish to consult with an employment law attorney to see if recovery of losses is possible. 

Source: abqjournal.com, "Implementation of paid family leave programs widens", Joyce M. Rosenberg, Feb. 26, 2018

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