The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is an addition to the regulations applied to businesses which recognizes the changing nature of the family, and the importance of having a business environment which is supportive of the needs of the family. The FMLA requires employers to grant leaves of absence to employees who are seriously ill, who have newborn or newly adopted children, or who have to care for sick family members without the risk of the employee loosing their job as a result of the leave. Specifically, sections 6381 through 6387 of title 5, United States Code, as added by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act 1993, provides covered Federal employees with entitlement to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for the following purposes:
* the birth of a son or daughter of the employee and the care of such son or daughter;
* the placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care;
* the care of spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the employee who has a serious health condition; or
* serious health condition of the employee that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her positions.
(US Office of Personnel Management, online)
Under the details of the act, upon return from FMLA leave, an employee must be able to return to the same position or to an "equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, status, and other terms and conditions of employment." Further, under the guarantees of the FMLA, an employee who takes a FMLA leave is entitled to maintain health benefits coverage. An employee may pay the employee share of the premiums on a current basis or pay upon return to work.
The history behind the FMLA reflects the...