FMLA for all employers?
Posted March 11, 2022
On March 3, Representative Lauren Underwood and Senator Tina Smith introduced the Job Protection Act (S 3748, H 6938), new legislation to expand the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to more employees and employers.
Under the Job Protection Act, private employers with at least one employee would be covered by the FMLA. Currently, private employers are covered by the law if they have 50 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year.
No longer would smaller employers dodge the FMLA bullet.
The bill would also make the following changes to the FMLA in relation to employee eligibility criteria:
- Current provision: Employees must have worked for their employer for at least 12 months
- Proposed provision: Employees must have worked for their employer for at least 9 months
- Current provision: Employees must have worked (for one employer) for at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months before leave is to begin
- Proposed provision: Employees must have worked for any employers for at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months before leave is to begin.
- Current provision: Employees must work at a worksite with at least 50 company employees within 75 miles.
- Proposed provision: Employees must work at a worksite with at least 1 employee within 75 miles.
This bill taps into the COVID-19 struggles, as it purports to help “those reentering the workforce who either lost their jobs or had to quit due to caregiving responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.” It does not go so far as to provide for paid leave, which has been part of the Build Back Better legislation that has been being worked on for months.
At the time of this writing, the bill had 50 cosponsors, all democrats, but the Senate will generally be the barrier.
Almost every Administration has introduced bills that would expand the FMLA, but few have made it to the finish line. This is another, but remember, it took years and many iterations for the FMLA to make it into law.
This article was written by Darlene Clabault of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.