Family and Medical Leave Act leaves many workers out in cold

Released: 
March 20, 2013

Though 13 percent of U.S. workers took time off in 2012 under the Family and Medical Leave Act, many remain uncovered by the law.

Twenty years after Congress passed the Family and Medical Leave Act, data shows 13 percent of workers took leave in 2012 for a qualifying cause. Thats the same rate as in 2000.

But many workers remain uncovered. Private organizations with less than 50 employees are exempt from having to offer FMLA leave. Only about 10 percent of workplaces surveyed in 2012 were bigger, and at those covered businesses, only 59 percent of employees met qualification criteria.

Most FMLA leave is taken for an employees own illness, followed by pregnancy or a new child. Most employees say they received at least partial pay during the leavemainly from their own banked vacation and sick time.

Click through our photo gallery for more on FMLA. See What Do Others Say for more views, then add to the discussion below. How well do you think the law is working? Should it be expanded to cover more workers?