Family Leave


Compiled by Sandee Tisdale and Jessica Jackson-Yoo

Topic Page Advisor:
Ruth Milkman, Ph.D.

Family leave allows employees to take time off from work during pregnancy, after the birth or adoption of a child, to care for sick family members or to recuperate from a serious illness with a guaranteed job when they return. In the United States, the only federal law giving employees a right to job-protected leave is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. (For more information about the FMLA, see the Network topic page.) However, this legislation does not require the employer to provide any paid compensation during this leave and excludes small businesses. Many states and businesses are currently considering options for expanding their family leave policies to go above and beyond the mandates of federal legislation.

Updated: December 2009