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FMLA: A Look Two Decades (and 25 Bradley Cooper Films) Later

Posted on: February 12th, 2013 | Category: Employee Handbooks, Employment Administration, Government Regulatory & Compliance Issues, Human Resources, Our Blog

Last Tuesday marked the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). We thought we’d take a moment to reflect on just how much has changed since the passing of this historic legislation.


Since, let’s be honest, some of us may have a hard time remembering the news from two days ago, let alone decades back, we put together this little comparison chart for your convenience:


On Feburary 5th 1993
U.S. President: Bill Clinton
(1st term)
Barack Obama
(2nd term)
# 1 Film in the country: “Aladdin”
“Warm Bodies”
# 1 Pop Song in America:  “I Will Always Love You”
(Whitney Houston)
“When I Was Your Man”
(Bruno Mars)
Average cost of gas nationwide: $1.05 /gallon $3.60/gallon
Bradley Cooper’s headshot (Editor’s note: This last one was strictly, for historical perspective, of course, and totally not for gratuitous eye candy. Totally. Not.)


Over the last two decades, FMLA has provided qualified employees the opportunity for unpaid leave time to recover from serious illness or injury, to care for a sick relative or to bond with their newborn child. This is a good thing for families and for employers who want employees to feel satisfied and committed to their jobs in the long run. But, let’s face it, ruling also brought on some serious compliance headaches for employers, including keeping an eye out for FMLA abuse and misuse.


So, in order to mark the passing of two decades of FMLA in the workplace, we ask you:


How has FMLA affected your business or industry?


If you are interested in reading more about FMLA turning 20, there is a great article over at FMLA Insights, by Jeff Nowak. In it, he examines surveys done regarding the effectiveness of the legislation conducted by the Department of Labor (DOL) and by Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM). As you might imagine, the two research findings painted very different pictures of the situation.


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