The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA or the Act) was signed into law on February 5, 1993. The Act was finally signed by President Bill Clinton after about eight years of debate and two presidential vetoes by President George H. W. Bush. The FMLA requires that, private employers that employ fifty or more employees, as well as public agencies “provide eligible employees with the right to take family leave in specified circumstances” (Ossip, J. M. , Hale, R. M. , Coleman, G. V. Talwani, I. 2006, p. 3). Prior to the signing into law, the house and the senate had minor differences regarding the coverage of this Act.
Oosip, Hale, Coleman, and Talwani stated, “The Senate bill provided family and medical leave to all employees who worked for at least 900 hours during the twelve month period” (p. 11), whereas the House bill required an eligible employee to have completed at leased 1000 hours work during the past twelve month period. The final Act however, defines the covered employees or the eligible employees “as a person who has been employed (1) for at least twelve months by the employer with respect to whom leave is requested and (2) for at least 1,250 hours of service with such employer during the last twelve month period” (p. 14).
Employees employed in a company with less than fifty employees within the 75 of the employees’ worksite are excluded in these benefits. Under this Act, eligible employees could take up twelve workweeks of leave during any twelve month period for any of the following purposes: for the birth and care of a child, for placement for adoption or foster care, to care for employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent with serious health condition, or if “the employee had a serious health condition making the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her job” (p. 15).
The ratification of the FMLA according to Oosip, Hale, Coleman, and Talwani “was predicated on two fundamental concerns: the needs of the American workforce and the development of high-performance organizations” (p. 16). The objectives of this law were to balance the demands of the work place with the needs of families, “to promote the stability and economic security of families and to promote national interests in preserving family integrity” (p. 17). Under the FMLA, the employee can opt to execute accumulated paid leave in the form of either sick leave or vacation leave.
Under this Act, too, “serious condition” means an illness, physical injury or impairment. It can also refer to the physical and mental condition that involves the period of incapacity that requires absence for more than three calendar days from work, or a period of treatment associated with inpatient care in hospital or residential medical care facility, wherein the employee is in a period of incapacity, and, to the ongoing treatment of a chronic or long-term health condition that is incurable that without such treatment would result in a period of incapacity for more than three calendar days by a health care provider
On the other hand, the workers compensation Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) was enacted in 1970 to improve workplace safety. This Act facilitated the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health administration in the Depart of Labor and directed it to promulgate health and safety standards defined in the Act as: