[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduced the Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act today, which will allow employees to take unpaid leave to care for a same-sex spouse or partner, parent-in-law, adult child, sibling, grandchild or grandparent.
“Regardless of the make-up of one’s family, all employees should be given the same rights to care for a sick loved one in a time of need,” Durbin said. “For 20 years, we have had a law that provides unpaid leave for families in crisis. As families change, so should the laws designed to help them.”
"The Family and Medical Leave Act has helped millions of Americans meet their family's needs for care, comfort and support since its enactment in 1993. But families have been changing, as the recent great victory for marriage equality in New York demonstrates, and the law must keep up," Maloney said. "To care for a child or a parent or a spouse is no different than to care for a domestic partner or same-sex spouse, child of a domestic partner, or adult child, sibling or grandparent-- and the law should reflect that. Anyone facing a crisis deserves the help of their closest loved ones.”
The landmark Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) allows millions of Americans to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work to care for a new baby or to care for a spouse, child under age 18, or parent who has a serious health condition.
Groundbreaking at the time if its enactment, a growing number of families cannot take advantage of the benefits it provides. Under current law, employees are not permitted to take FMLA leave to care for a same-sex spouse or partner, making it impossible for some employees to be with their loved ones during times of severe medical need. The same restrictions apply to grandparents or adult children with serious health conditions, even if the employee is the only person that can provide the care needed.
The Family Medical Leave Inclusion Act is supported by over 80 organizations, including: National Association of Working Women; AFSCME; American Pediatrics Association; ACLU; Families USA; Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD); Human Rights Campaign; People for the American Way; SEIU; and; The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
The bill is cosponsored in the Senate by Senators Sanders (I-VT); Merkley (D-OR); Whitehouse (D-RI); Blumenthal (D-CT); Leahy (D-VT); Kerry (D-MA); Gillibrand (D-NY); Coons (D-DE), Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Akaka (D-HI).