The Family Medical Leave Act went into effect in 1993. Since that time the law has helped countless workers not have to choose between the well-being of their family and their ability to retain employment.
A number of special events will celebrate the accomplishments of this vital worker protection law in 2023.
The important numbers
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, over 1 million participants have seen benefits from the law. In addition to workers getting the benefits they deserve from the act, the DOL has also stepped in when employers refused to follow the dictates of the FMLA. This resulted in the following actions:
- Reversed over 18,000 unfair terminations
- Reversed over 13,000 unjust leave denials
- Helped 1,000 workers retain employee benefits
- Recovered $63 million in back wages for workers
- Helped 13,000 employees who faced discrimination
In all of these cases, employers failed to adhere to the FMLA. In some cases, employees retained employment but received a lower position as a result of taking guaranteed family leave; the DOL helped restore 12,000 workers to the same or an equivalent position.
The core purpose
Since its inception 30 years ago, the FMLA sought to restore the work-life balance for workers by allowing leave in a variety of situations. These include time off for mothers to care for newborns and for family members to take care of sick relatives. This time off from work at crucial moments improves quality of life and provides peace of mind.
Though the FMLA guarantees time off in certain conditions, employers do not always follow the law. Sometimes legal action becomes necessary to support workers’ rights.