20Th Anniversary of Family and Medical Leave Actby Representative Eric Swalwell
Posted on 2013-02-05
SWALWELL of California asked and was given permission to address
the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. SWALWELL of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to mark the
20th anniversary of the signing of the Family and Medical Leave Act,
FMLA. After years of hearing talk about family values, it took
President Clinton and the 103rd Congress to adopt policies like FMLA
that actually value families.
As many people know, FMLA allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year due to an employee's own illness, to take care of a sick family member, or to be with a new child. For 20 years, this law has recognized the needs of hardworking families, particularly working women who often are heroically trying to balance their job and their role as primary caregiver.
The latest data from the Department of Labor demonstrate the importance of FMLA. In 2011, over 14 million workers took leave under the Act. And this leave is not disruptive to employers, with 40 percent of workers being away from the job for 10 days or fewer.
I know workers around the country are grateful for the protections of FMLA. Now over 20 years they have felt confident they could take time off as needed without fear of losing their job to care for themselves or their family.
As we debate the fiscal and budgetary issues of the day, I hope FMLA serves as a reminder that we can and should be valuing families, not just in our words, but in our deeds as well.