The Family Medical Leave Act (the “FMLA”) turned 25 this week, on
February 5, 2018. Enacted in 1993, the FMLA is actually one of the youngest
federal employment laws on the books. As with most other individual protections
enshrined in federal law, the FMLA — which generally allows 12 weeks of unpaid,
job-protected leave to care for newborns and ill family members or to deal with
a worker’s own serious illness — sets a floor, not a ceiling, for workplace
leave. Over the past several years, some states and many cities have taken this
principle seriously and enacted more stringent requirements for employee leave.
Many employers also provide paid, as opposed to unpaid, leave in some form or
another to their employees, often viewing that benefit as good for business and
attractive to potential recruits.