The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) currently gives eligible employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of leave from work per year for certain reasons without fear of losing their jobs. Valid reasons include pregnancy, childbirth, adoption of a child, serious medical conditions, caring for a loved one with a serious medical condition, and caretaking of a military member. However, FMLA has some limitations. For instance, the law does not apply to employees of private companies with fewer than 50 employees, and it does not require that employers pay employees during their leave.
Childbirth and other medical conditions may be expensive on their own, however, many employees also lose all of their income if they must take FMLA time. The combination of medical bills and lost wages can leave people close to financial ruin in an already stressful time in their lives. Employers can choose to pay employees for FMLA time, though such companies employ only 12 percent of employees in the United States. For the rest of the workforce, they must find a way to make ends meet while caring for a newborn or battling an illness.
The Family And Medical Insurance Leave Act
In December 2013, legislators introduced the Family And Medical Insurance Leave Act for consideration in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Referred to as the FAMILY Act, the law would aim to aid employees who do not have access to paid family leave by providing family and medical leave insurance for employees on a national level. Here are some of the facts regarding the FAMILY Act and how the program would work.
Who does the program affect? The insurance would cover all employees at all companies with no size requirements. Part-time, young, older, minimum wage, and contingent workers would all have coverage under the Act.
What will the program provide? The insurance coverage will provide 66 percent of a worker’s usual wages during FMLA time, up to a certain capped amount.
How will the program be funded? The funding will come from payroll contributions from employees and employers. Though additional payroll deductions may cause some alarm, the deduction is only two-tenths of 1 percent of income, which only comes to about $1.50 per week for an average American worker.
Who will run the program? The Act will create a new Office of Paid Family and Medical Leave as part of the Social Security Administration. Administrative costs will be paid through payroll contributions, as well.
California and New Jersey already have paid family leave insurance programs that have proven to be successful, low cost, and good for employees, employers, and the economy. The insurance will improve health care for infants and sick adults and will alleviate stress on the American workforce.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding FMLA issue, do not hesitate to contact the employment attorneys at HKM today.