Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 2 » Federal Agencies on Aging - Social Security Administration, Centers For Medicare And Medicaid Services, National Institute On Aging, Employment And Training Administration - Administration on Aging

Federal Agencies on Aging - Employment Standards Administration

fmla family women workers

A relatively small agency, the Wage and Hour Division within DOL's Employment Standards Administration, is charged with administering and enforcing the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. FMLA was the first piece of domestic legislation signed by President Bill Clinton and has been at the heart of heated arguments about what role, if any, the federal government should play in easing the tensions that have emerged between the roles of work and family among today's employees. The growing presence of women in the American labor force has been the impetus behind this legislation. Being at work has made it difficult for many women to meet traditional family obligations; yet allowing these women workers time off for such obligations has put strains on employers (and other employees) in getting jobs completed at the workplace.

FMLA is still in its infancy, but it has the potential in future years of being increasingly relevant to older people. One of the provisions of the law is that a worker can take time off from work to care for "an immediate family member," which includes a parent. As both the overall population and the workforce age, there will be an increasing need for workers to help meet the needs of parents who are frail. If, as has been proposed, FMLA were liberalized to include paid leave, the number of workers helping parents would grow even larger. To this point, implementation of FMLA has been complicated (Scharlach and Grosswald, Hudson and Gonyea) and it will continue to pose challenges for the Wage and Hour Division.

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