May 2010
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The Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) offers information about The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) on its Web site, including FMLA facts and statistics, as well as comparisons with other countries' leave policies.

Following are some FMLA statistics:

  • About 62 percent of workers qualify to take leave under FMLA.
  • More than 50 million people have taken FMLA leave—58 percent have been women and 42 percent have been men.
  • Of people who take FMLA leave, 52 percent have done so to care for their own serious illness; 31 percent have done so to care for a seriously ill family member; and 26 percent have done so to care for a new child.
  • Fifty percent of workers take FMLA leave for 10 days or fewer; 80 percent of workers take FMLA leave for 40 days or fewer.
  • About 78 percent of people who wanted to take FMLA leave but didn't take the leave say it was because the leave is unpaid and they couldn't afford to lose the income.
  • Ninety-eight percent of eligible employees return to work for their same employer after returning from FMLA leave.
  • Eighty-nine percent of covered businesses report either no increase or a small increase in administrative costs because of FMLA.
  • Of 173 countries, 137 mandate paid annual leave; the U.S. does not require employers to provide any paid annual leave.
  • Of 173 countries, 145 provide paid sick days for short- or long-term illnesses.
  • Eighty-one countries provide sickness benefits for employees up to 26 weeks; the U.S. does not offer paid time off, and only about 60 percent of employees are covered by FMLA.
  • Of 173 countries, only four do not guarantee any paid leave for new mothers—Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Swaziland and the U.S.

For more FMLA information from AAUW, click here.


This Web exclusive information is a supplement to Military family leave is here to stay.

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