Expanding the FMLA in CAlifornia Essays and Papers

This essay has a total of 1232 words and 6 pages.

Expanding the FMLA in CAlifornia

Problem Identification
Every day in California, working men and women face conflicts between their work
responsibilities and their families. In order to work they must make arrangements for
their children and elderly family members who need assistance. They address these
conflicts through a variety of child-care, after-school, and eldercare arrangements. But
sometimes when a child is seriously ill, an aging parent's health deteriorates suddenly,
or a baby is born or adopted, these daily arrangements are no longer adequate. At such
times of family need, an employee simply must take time off from work because no
alternative care arrangements will do. That is why in 1993, Congress passed the Family and
Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which was the first national policy designed to help working
people balance their work and family responsibilities. It guarantees that people who work
for companies with more than 50 employees can take up to 12 weeks' unpaid leave a year to
care for a newborn or newly-adopted child or for certain seriously ill family members, or
to recover from their own serious health conditions.

Unfortunately, taking unpaid family leave is a luxury most Californians can not afford, so
new mandates must be instituted to help insure that our state's families can have a
healthy and affordable balance between work and family responsibilities. Many groups have
different views on how this issue should be resolved and that is why I have chosen to use
the group theory to explain this problem. There are three workable resolutions that I have
chosen to discuss; expanding the FMLA to cover businesses with 25-49 employees, expanding
the use of sick leave, and expanding the State Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI)
Program to provide partial wage replacement to employees who are on parental leave.

Search For Solutions
The first possible solution was formed when it came to public attention that many
caregivers couldn't afford to take unpaid family leave due to the laws restrictions. In a
national survey it was discovered that nearly two-thirds of employees who needed but did
not take family or medical leave because they could not afford it. In addition, almost one
in ten FMLA leave-takers was forced to turn to public assistance to help cover the wages
they lost as a result of taking family or medical leave. As if the unpaid restrictions
weren't enough, it turns out that nationwide, 42.5% of private-sector employees are not
covered by the FMLA, because they work for businesses with fewer than 50 employees. That
is why expanding the law to cover businesses with 25-49 employees would give 13 million
more Americans the right to take FMLA leave. The National Partnership for Women & Families
has analyzed the most recent available employment data to show what this expansion would
mean for California. If California were to somehow expand the FMLA coverage to businesses
with 25-49 employees it would make the following differences.

Size of Employer (# of employees)
Private Sector 50 25 - 49 Total (25 )
# Employees covered 5,813,391 1,518,241 7,331,632
% Employees covered 55.5% 14.5% 70.0%
# Employers covered 37,145 50,109 87,254
% Employers covered 4.1% 5.5% 9.6%

If this proposition were to be made, California would rank 1st in the nation for the
number of people newly covered by the FMLA, giving 1,518,241 more people in California the
right to take FMLA leave. An additional 14.5% of California's private employees would be
newly covered by the FMLA, and 70% of all employees in California's private workforce
would be covered by the FMLA. Although these changes are significant, there is a downside
to this proposal, because only an additional 5.5% of California's private employers would
be newly covered by the FMLA. Moreover, only 9.6% of all California's private employers
would be covered by the FMLA, placing California among the 10 states in the nation with
the lowest levels of total employer coverage in the country. Those are just a few reasons
why expanding the FMLA would be a great improvement that still doesn't measure up.

The second possible solution to the problem of balancing work and family would be to
extend the use of sick leave. This state law would require employers to allow employees to
use their accrued paid sick leave for parental and family medical leave purposes. In 1999,
Continues for 3 more pages >>

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