Family Medical Leave Act expansion bill reintroduced
April 28, 2009
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) today reintroduced legislation to expand the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) to include a domestic partner, parent-in-law, adult child, sibling or grandparent. “We applaud Congresswoman Maloney for introducing legislation to expand the FMLA to cover same-sex couples and their children,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “No one should be forced to choose between their family and their paycheck. This bill will fulfill the mission of the FMLA by protecting all working families, and we urge Congress to pass this legislation swiftly.” For millions of workers, the FMLA has been an unprecedented success, allowing workers to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave from work to care for a seriously ill spouse, parent or child. It has proven essential to achieving greater employee retention and reducing employee turnover. Unfortunately, under the current law, millions of lesbian and gay Americans in committed, long-term relationships are unable to take FMLA leave to take leave to care for their same-sex partner. Because workers are not guaranteed leave to care for a partner or partner’s child without fear of losing their job, the FMLA does not fulfill its purpose of protecting working families. The Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act of 2009 would remedy this inequality by expanding the FMLA to permit an employee to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave from work if his or her domestic partner or same-sex spouse has a serious health condition. Many state governments and employers have already included families headed by same-sex couples for purposes of family leave, recognizing that an inclusive workforce is a competitive workforce.