Every day in California, working men and women face conflicts between their work responsibilities and their families. In order to work they must make arrangements for their children and elderly family members who need assistance. They address these conflicts through a variety of child-care, after-school, and eldercare arrangements. But sometimes when a child is seriously ill, an aging parent’s health deteriorates suddenly, or a baby is born or adopted, these daily arrangements are no longer adequate. At such times of family need, an employee simply must take time off from work because no alternative care arrangements will do. That is why in 1993, Congress passed the ...view middle of the document...
In a national survey it was discovered that nearly two-thirds of employees who needed but did not take family or medical leave because they could not afford it. In addition, almost one in ten FMLA leave-takers was forced to turn to public assistance to help cover the wages they lost as a result of taking family or medical leave. As if the unpaid restrictions weren’t enough, it turns out that nationwide, 42.5% of private-sector employees are not covered by the FMLA, because they work for businesses with fewer than 50 employees. That is why expanding the law to cover businesses with 25-49 employees would give 13 million more Americans the right to take FMLA leave. The National Partnership for Women & Families has analyzed the most recent available employment data to show what this expansion would mean for California. If California were to somehow expand the FMLA coverage to businesses with 25-49 employees it would make the following differences.
Size of Employer (# of employees)
Private Sector 50+ 25 - 49 Total (25+)
# Employees covered 5,813,391 1,518,241 7,331,632
% Employees covered 55.5% 14.5% 70.0%
# Employers covered 37,145 50,109 87,254
% Employers covered 4.1% 5.5% 9.6%
If this proposition were to be made, California would rank 1st in the nation for the number of people newly covered by the FMLA, giving 1,518,241 more people in California the right to take FMLA leave. An additional 14.5% of California's private employees would be newly covered by the FMLA, and 70% of all employees in California's private workforce would be covered by the FMLA. Although these changes are significant, there is a downside to this proposal, because only an additional 5.5% of California's private employers would be newly covered by the FMLA. Moreover, only 9.6% of all California's private employers would be covered by the FMLA, placing California among the 10 states in the nation with the lowest levels of total employer coverage in the country. Those are just a few reasons why expanding the FMLA would be a great improvement that still doesn’t measure up.
The second possible solution to the problem of balancing work and family would be to extend the use of sick leave. This state law would require employers to allow employees to use their accrued paid sick leave for parental and family medical leave purposes. In 1999, Governor Gray Davis signed legislation, effective January 1, 2000, that requires California employers that offer sick leave to let employees use at least the amount of sick leave earned in six months to care for a...