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Unions Fight Bush Administration Efforts to Attack Family Medical Leave

Legislation guaranteeing workers at least seven paid sick days per year backed by the union movement and proposed by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) would save employers, workers and taxpayers more than $8 billion per year, according to a new report by the Institute for Women’s Policy research (IWPR).

Kennedy and DeLauro reintroduced the Healthy Families Act April 27. Meanwhile, the Bush Labor Department is drafting proposed changes to federal
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations—and refuses to reveal details of the new rules. In an April 27 Capitol Hill press conference to introduce the Healthy Families Act, Kennedy said he expects the Labor Department’s rules will “emasculate the FMLA....Their efforts are to undermine it.”

The Kennedy–DeLauro bill would require employers with 15 or more employees to give full-time workers at least seven days of paid sick leave per year to recover from illnesses, for routine medical appointments or to care for sick family members. Part-time employees who work at least 20 hours per week also would be eligible for paid sick leave on a pro-rated basis, according to a summary of the bill. Workers who request three days of sick leave in a row could be required to obtain certification from a doctor.

Source: AFL-CIO


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