Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009

Family and Medical Leave

Before the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, an employee requesting leave for family or medical reasons was often at the whim of his employer. Senator Kennedy sponsored the legislation and fought passionately for the bill, which was passed twice by Congress and vetoed each time by President George H.W. Bush. "We know that Bill Clinton would sign it if he were in the White House," he said in a 1992 Senate debate, urging fellow Senators to override the presidential veto. Kennedy turned out to be was right; Clinton passed the landmark bill in 1993, requiring companies with 50 or more employees to grant workers three months of unpaid leave to care for a new child or a sick relative. Kennedy later sponsored legislation to extend the Act to cover 10 million Americans and provide assistance for victims of domestic abuse.