America’s Lack of Paid Leave Is Devastating Women and Families

By Sapna Mehta


Thirty years ago, a group of determined women ushered the groundbreaking Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) into law after a long fight. It was introduced nine successive years in Congress and vetoed twice by President George H.W. Bush before finally being enacted by President Bill Clinton on Feb. 5, 1993.

The FMLA provides unpaid, job-protected leave to millions of working people for family caregiving or medical needs. While passage of the FMLA was a monumental achievement for its time, coverage and eligibility restrictions mean that over 40 percent of the workforce are excluded from its protections.

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