Murray Marks a Decade of FMLA, Urges Expansion of Act

Feb 05 2003

Legislation would extend unpaid leave to millions more American families

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Senator Patty Murray today marked the tenth anniversary of the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by joining her Democratic colleagues in introducing a bill to expand this important legislation.

An original cosponsor of the FMLA in 1993, Murray was instrumental in passing the legislation which allows working family members to take unpaid leave to care for their newborn or adopted child, or a parent or spouse or child who is seriously ill. Passing this important family-friendly legislation was among Murray's top priorities upon entering the Senate in 1993.

The legislation Murray helped introduce today would expand FMLA to an additional 13 million Americans. The new bill:

- Extends the FMLA to employees of mid-sized companies by lowering the threshold for FMLA coverage to 25 employees;

- Includes the Family Income to Respond to Significant Transitions Insurance Act, which provides $400 million in demonstration projects to provide full or partial wage replacement during times of family and medical leave; and

- Allows employees to take leave to address domestic violence and its effects.

The FMLA expansion bill also includes a provision originally introduced by Senator Murray in 1999 to allow employees to take up to 24 hours of leave per year to participate in their children's academic school activities or literacy training.

Murray statement on Tenth Anniversary of FMLA:

"Thanks to the FMLA, more than 35 million Americans have been able to care for a newborn, a sick child, a parent or a spouse without the fear of losing their jobs. Now, a decade later, it is time for us to do even more to help working families.

"The expansion of the FMLA will extend leave time to 13 million Americans and will give parents something they simply don't have enough of - time with their children.

"The FMLA expansion is family-friendly legislation that allows parents to take the time to participate in their children's education, care for an aging relative and even deal with the devastating effects of domestic violence.

"I encourage the Administration to do the right thing for families across this country by supporting this important legislation for the health and well-being of America's future."