Repealing WI Family Medical Leave Act raises concerns

 The possibility of repealing parts of Wisconsin’s Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is front and center for lawmakers this week.  Two republican bills in the legislature want to eliminate parts of FMLA to make it more like federal law.

Under the proposals, businesses that comply with federal Family and Medical Leave Act would not longer have to follow state rules on paid leave.

Groups like 9 to 5 argue these  changes being considered would limit part time employees flexibility and make it harder or eliminate employees ability to take medical leave.

Chineva Smith from Milwaukee says under Wisconsin’s FMLA laws she had trouble keeping a job because her son had special needs. State FMLA laws do not currently cover children with disabilities. 

“If Wisconsin’s FMLA was expanded I would’ve had job protection and it would cover children who might have disabilities or people with disabilities,” said Smith.Instead of looking for more ways to benefit people, it’s on the chopping block to make it streamlined with federal law.

"There are families out there that do struggle like this and we want to be productive members of society, we don't ask for things like this just understanding and compassion," Smith said.

Some GOP lawmakers say having a state and federal law can be confusing for employers.  Regardless of lawmakers decision to repeal or not, 9 to 5 says they’d want the conversation to continue towards equal pay and create standards for paid medical leave.

"Working women often need flexible scheduling and so taking away that job protection is so critical." A committee will meet Wednesday to host a public hearing about the repeal.

For more go to WKOW:

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