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27 Fam. L.Q. 461 (1993-1994)
Family Leave and Family Law

handle is hein.journals/famlq27 and id is 481 raw text is: Family Leave and Family Law

I. Introduction
On February 5, 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the Family and
Medical Leave Act' (FMLA or Act), an Act which will affect an esti-
mated 293,000 establishments and 44 million employees.2 Prior to the
federal legislation, as many as thirty states and the District of Columbia
had passed legislation granting some form of family, parental, maternal,
or medical leave to various classes of employees.3 The federal law does
not preempt state or local laws that provide greater employee coverage.4
While the FMLA is primarily concerned with employment law issues,
its provisions also have great potential to affect the decisions made by
family law practitioners, clients, and courts.
The FMLA provides up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave to workers
who need time to care for children, spouses, parents or themselves.5
It exempts companies with fewer than fifty employees within a seventy-
five-mile radius of a worksite.6 Workers are guaranteed their same
jobs or an equivalent position when they return to work, and their
employment benefits are protected during the leave period.7 The Act
* Cheryl L. Cooper, second place winner in the 1993 Schwab Memorial Essay
Contest, graduated from Columbia University School of Law in New York in 1993 and
is currently employed as an associate attorney with Crowe and Dunlevy in Tulsa,
1. Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, Pub. L. No. 103-3, 107 Stat. 6 (to
be codified at 29 U.S.C. § 2601, and amending 5 U.S.C. § 6381) [hereinafter FMLA].
2. S. REp. No. 3, 103d Cong., 1st Sess. 42 (1993), reprinted in 1993 U.S.C.-
C.A.N. 3, 44.
3. Eight-Year Effort To Pass Federal Leave Had Roots in Pregnancy Discrimina-
tion Acts, Daily Lab. Rep. (BNA) No. 24, at S-3 (Feb. 8, 1993).
4. FMLA § 401(b).
5. FMLA § 102(a)(l).
6. FMLA § 101(2)(B)(ii) and § 101(4)(A)(i).
7. FMLA § 104(a)(1).

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