STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT: Family and Medical Leave Act
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
January 9, 2001

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     The first legislation I signed as President was the 1993 Family and
Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows workers to take up to twelve weeks
of unpaid leave to care for a seriously ill child, spouse or parent, a
newborn, newly adopted or newly placed child, or for their own serious
health problem, without fear of losing their jobs.  This law was an
important step forward in helping America?s working families balance the
competing demands of work and family.  Since then, I am proud to say that
more than 35 million working Americans have taken leave for family and
medical reasons since 1993.

     In 1996, the bipartisan Commission on Family and Medical Leave issued
a report assessing family and medical leave policies.  The Commission found
that the FMLA was working well for both workers and employers.  Today, the
U. S. Department of Labor released the results of its new surveys, which
updated the Commission?s work.  Once again, the data show that the Family
and Medical Leave Act remains a balanced approach to meeting the needs of
workers and employers.  We know that when needed most, covered and eligible
workers were able to take this benefit ? in fact, more than 15 million have
done so since January 1999, the period covered by this survey.

     FMLA has given millions of workers the ability to care for their
seriously ill child, spouse or parent, or stay home with their newborn
child, without worrying about whether their job will be there when they
return.  Our work is not done, however.  We must now build on the success
of FMLA by giving more workers the protections of the Act and finding new
ways to provide paid leave to those workers who need to take off but cannot
afford to do so.


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