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U.S. Senate looks at paid family leave

The shape of the employment world is rapidly changing, with employers and employees scrambling to keep up. Employers want to offer key benefits to stay competitive in securing and retaining the brightest people in global markets. Employees want to balance work and family. The latter consideration in the United States is significantly affected by the Family and Medical Leave Act. It details employer and employee rights and responsibilities with regards to family leave. The United States Senate is looking at how paid leave is a part of that.

In a recent hearing before the highly influential Children and Families Subcommittee, U.S. Senators heard from representatives of working families, their advocates and business owners, all of whom testified about the importance of paid leave. The hearing was requested by Senator Kay Hagan. It focused on a need for a universal insurance program covering medical and family leave.

At the hearing, it was noted that FLMA is the key law to help people balance work and family. While it does a lot of good, it only guarantees unpaid leave. Many people can't afford to take that.

That is why paid leave was the focus of the Children and Families Subcommittee hearing. Those testifying don't want parents and others having to choose between earning a living and taking care of their loved ones. They also don't want the burden of paid leave to fall completely on employers.

Considerations related to FLMA will continue to develop. Paid leave will undoubtedly be a part of that. Employers and employees alike should be informed about their rights and responsibilities regarding leave, and an attorney experienced in these matters can help them.

Source: The Progressive Pulse, "Paid family leave takes step forward in U.S. Senate" Allan Freyer, Jul. 31, 2014

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