New bill would greatly expand the scope and reach of the FMLA

Rep. Carolyn Maloney [D-NY14] recently introduced H.R. 1440: Family and Medical Leave Enhancement Act of 2011 (FMLEA) in the House of Representatives.

What is this new bill? And what will it mean for new employers if it passes? (Hint: It may have something to do with the picture on the left)

All the details, after the jump.

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The FMLA is intended to allow employees to balance their work and family life by taking reasonable unpaid leave for medical reasons, for the birth or adoption of a child, or for the care of a child, spouse, or parent who has a serious health condition. The FMLEA would amend the FMLA to allow employees to take off from work to participate in or attend their children’s and grandchildren’s educational and extracurricular activities. The bill also would allow employees to take leave for routine family medical needs and to assist elderly relatives, and for other purposes.

Specifically, the FMLEA would allow an eligible employee to:

  1. participate in or attend an activity that is sponsored by a school or community organization and relates to a program of the school or organization that is attended by a son or daughter or a grandchild of the employee; or
  2. meet routine family medical care needs, including for medical and dental appointments of the employee or a son, daughter, spouse, or grandchild of the employee, or to attend to the care needs of elderly individuals who are related to the eligible employee, including visits to nursing homes and group homes.

The FMLEA would also amend the FMLA to increase the number of covered employers by decreasing the total number of employees needed to qualify as a covered employer. That threshold would drop from 50 employees to 25.

The chances that this bill — previously introduced in both ’05 and ’09 — of passing now during this Congress are slim and none.

And by “slim and none”, I mean “none and none.”

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