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Ernst, Sinema Lead Bipartisan Push to Modernize Family, Medical Leave Policies for Working Families

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a mom and senior member of the Senate Small Business Committee, is leading a bipartisan push with Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) to modernize the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Ernst’s bill would ensure married couples who work for the same employer are not restricted in the amount of leave they can take under the law, an issue in the original law that’s become increasingly evident in the modern workforce.
“As any mom can attest, it’s critical for new parents to spend time with their children in their first few weeks together. That’s why I’ve continued to work in the Senate to increase opportunities for parental leave,” said Senator Ernst. “This bipartisan bill will extend equal benefits to married couples regardless of their employer, and it also provides time to care for a sick family member, including our heroic servicemembers.”
“Our bipartisan FAIR Leave Act makes commonsense fixes to Family and Medical Leave Act benefits, empowering Arizona families to spend time with a new child, care for a loved one, or provide support to an injured or ill servicemember,” said Sinema.
The FAIR Leave Act—or Fair Access for Individuals to Receive Leave Act—modernizes the FMLA by addressing some of the shortcomings of the law to provide more comprehensive and effective leave for American families.
Background :
While the FMLA provides unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons, it limits the amount of leave that married couples, working for the same employer, may take for spending time at home with their new baby, or caring for a sick loved one or servicemember. The bipartisan FAIR Leave Act will repeal this limitation.
The bill enables eligible spouses working for the same employer to each take up to 12 work weeks (24 total) of unpaid leave in a 12 month period for the following FMLA-qualifying reasons:
  • the birth of a son or daughter;
  • the placement and adoption of a child; or
  • the care of a parent with a serious health condition.
It will also allow eligible spouses to each take 26 weeks to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness.
Read the full bill text HERE.