In her most recent New York Times Economix Blog, UMass Economics Professor Nancy Folbre examines the Family and Medical Leave Act (F.M.L.A.). She argues that even if an employee qualifies, (their employer must have more than 50 employees and the employee has to meet the federal workplace eligibility requirements) a significant percentage of workers can’t afford to take unpaid leave.
Do you have the right to take an unpaid family leave from work? And could you afford to take one if you needed to?
The federal government guarantees some American workers the right to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave from paid employment in order to cope with their own illness, that of a spouse or parent, or the birth or adoption of a child.
But recent research on the Family and Medical Leave Act (F.M.L.A.) signed into law by President Clinton in 1993 suggests that limited coverage, poor compliance and economic constraints combine to reinforce existing inequalities between men and women, rich and poor.