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February 11, 2003
Senator Dodd Proposes FMLA Expansion
Sen
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ator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) announced he would introduce legislation that would expand Family and Medical Leave Act’s scope and coverage to include a plan for states to offer as many as six weeks of paid leave and cover employers with 25 or more employees.

"The Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act would create a $400 million pilot grant program to help states to design ways to offer six weeks of partial or full paid leave, which would count toward the FMLA-allowed 12 weeks of leave, for eligible employees who take time to care for a child or a family member," Dodd says.

States would be able to provide for wage replacement directly or through an insurance program, such as a state temporary disability program or a state unemployment compensation program, or other mechanism, according to Dodd. A parallel grant program, to be managed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), would be created for FMLA-eligible federal employees.

The bill would also make an additional 13 million working men and women eligible for FMLA by covering employers with 25 or more employees (the law currently only applies to workers at businesses with more than 50 employees), and would allow eligible employees to take FMLA leave to help themselves or their families address the effects of domestic violence, according to Dodd.

"Family leave is literally a lifeline to those struggling to keep their head above water when it comes to increased job and family responsibilities," says Dodd, who serves as ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families. "This measure can help build upon that success by ensuring that more families are able to access the critically important benefits of family and medical leave."


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