FMLA and other protections for part-time employees. These could be coming soon…

A new bill is coming to Congress soon that would make it far more likely for part-time employees to obtain leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

It’s called the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act — fancy that — and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) sponsor it.

Unfortunately, I don’t yet have a copy of this proposed legislation. But, what I do have is a kazoo prototype from the future some information from this press release from Rep. Schakowsky from which I will now quote liberally:

The Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act would:

  • Require large employers to offer available hours to current, available, qualified part-time employees before hiring new employees or subcontractors. The legislation requires employers with more than 500 workers to compensate existing employees if they hire new employees instead of assigning new work to available, qualified, existing employees.
  • Make more part-time employees eligible for family and medical leave. The legislation guarantees any employee who has worked for their employer for at least a year access to federal leave protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • Allow part-time workers to participate in their employers’ pension plans. The legislation amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to give part-time workers who have worked at least 500 hours for two consecutive years access to retirement plans if they are offered by their employers to full-time workers.

I searched around to see if something like this had been introduced in either the House or Senate before. Sure enough, I wrote about it in 2013.

***pats self on back***

The Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act of 2013, also sponsored by Rep. Schakowsky, would have also removed the 1,250-hour requirement from the FMLA. Thus, any employee with at least one year of service, working at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles, would qualify for FMLA. However, that bill never made it out of Committee.

I don’t expect that the 2019 version will have any better success. But, if it does, you’ll read about it here.


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