Workplace Flexibility + Leave

Background

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is the only federal law governing leave in the workplace. Beyond the FMLA, many employers voluntarily offer generous paid-leave programs to help employees fulfill their work and personal responsibilities, offering flexibility to both employees and employers. Additionally, to better support the work/life needs of today's diverse workforce, a growing number of employers offer flexible work arrangements such as compressed workweeks, telecommuting and flexible schedules.

 

Issue

To date, 11 states plus the District of Columbia and more than 20 localities have adopted rigid paid-sick-leave laws. Five states and the District of Columbia have enacted various paid family and medical leave programs. Other policy initiatives include requiring employers to establish predictable work schedules, guaranteeing an employee's right to request a flexible work schedule or placing restrictions on the use of compressed workweeks. As a result, employers must now navigate a fragmented system of state and local paid-leave mandates and flexible work requirements, while federal, state and local policymakers continue to pursue additional mandated approaches to these benefits.

 

SHRM Position

  • SHRM believes that the United States must have a 21st-century workplace flexibility policy that meets the needs of both employers and employees.  

  • SHRM supports efforts to assist employees in meeting the dual demands of their work and personal responsibilities.

  • SHRM believes that employers should be encouraged to voluntarily offer paid leave and flexible work options to their employees.

  • SHRM believes that, rather than promoting a one-size-fits-all government mandate, policy proposals should accommodate varying work environments, employee representation, industries and organizational size.

  • SHRM believes that public-policy proposals should provide employers with certainty and predictability through a voluntary federal framework rather than a fragmented patchwork of state and local laws.

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