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Florida's family leave policies don't help new parents: Part I

We have often written about the importance of job protection when employees must take time off due to pressing life circumstances. One of the most important legal protections in this regard is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for personal health or family reasons.

But the FMLA is not perfect, and does not always protect the jobs of individuals who must take time off. Therefore, state laws must pick up the slack. A recent national report graded every state on how well its employment and anti-discrimination laws protect the jobs of employees who have just become new parents. The outlook was grim nationwide, and especially here in Florida, which was given a "D" grade.

The research and subsequent grades were published by the National Partnership for Women & Families. States were also graded on the number of programs and services available to help employees who have recently experienced a family change including childbirth, foster child placement or adoption.

The report states: "The United States lacks a national policy that provides paid family and medical leave and other support to new parents. And gaps in our nation's chief work and family law, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), leave millions of working parents without even unpaid job-protected leave when a new child arrives."

The report is highly critical of the lack of laws and services throughout the majority of the country. Only two states received an A-, and no states were graded higher than that. As mentioned earlier, Florida received a D grade for its lack of programs and laws which support new parents. Check back later this week as we take a closer look at the reasoning behind our state scores.

Source: Fox News, "New report card on family leave: Many states fail," Laurie Tarkan, May 31, 2012

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