Proposed FMLA Expansion Limits Flexibility, Increases Burdens

Date: August 29, 2005

The Family Medical Leave Act was passed in 1993 and mandates that small businesses with 50 or more employees grant their employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave in the case of a serious health condition for either the employee or immediate family, and birth or adoption of a child. Lawmakers are proposing legislation to expand the current FMLA by eliminating or lowering the 50-employee small-business exemption and expanding options for leave, such as children's school activities, routine medical appointments and other family needs.

Expansion of the FMLA would create considerable burdens on small businesses. Most small-business owners already provide a great amount of flexibility in allowing their employees to take time off for family or medical purposes. Government mandates take away small employers' and employees' freedom to negotiate the benefits package that best meets their mutual needs. Expanding FMLA mandates would drastically increase the amount of paperwork and money spent complying.

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