Proposed Family and Medical Leave Enhancement Act Would Have Large Impact on Employers


U.S. House Representative Carolyn B. Maloney of New York has introduced H.R. 3999, which would provide for a far-reaching expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).

The bill introduces two big changes to the current Act.

First, the FMLA would be expanded to cover employees whose employers have 25 or more employees within a 75-mile radius. The FMLA currently covers only employers with 50 or more employees.

Second, the “enhanced” FMLA would allow employees to take intermittent, “parental involvement leave to participate in or attend their children’s and grandchildren’s educational and extracurricular activities” and would also allow FMLA-protected leave to cover “routine family medical needs and to assist elderly relatives.” See Currently, the FMLA generally allows for job-protected, unpaid leave only for “serious health conditions,” including pregnancy and childbirth.

There are some limitations on the additional leave provided by the amendment. An employee would be limited to 4 hours of leave in a 30-day period, and 24 hours of leave in a 12-month period.

In promoting the bill, Representative Maloney referred to President Obama’s statement in his recent State of the Union address that “it’s time to eliminate workplace policies that belong in an episode of Mad Men.” See The President also endorsed the components of the proposed bill in a June 2008 speech in Albuquerque, NM. See id. Representative Maloney’s press release did not address any potential impact on employers.

The proposed bill has been sent to the House Oversight and Government Reform and House Administration Committees.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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