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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 1, 1996


Three years ago, I worked with the Congress to pass the Family and Medical Leave Act so that we could help Americans balance their work and family responsibilities. Americans should not have to choose between their job and caring for a sick child or parent. We said we could do that without hurting businesses and we were right. Today, a bi-partisan commission that studied the Act announced its conclusion that this new law has significantly helped working Americans while placing only minimal requirements on their employers.

The Commission found that because we have a Family and Medical Leave Act, fewer workers will have to choose between their jobs and their loved ones if a child or elderly parent should need care. That's tremendously important in an era when most households are headed by two working parents or by single mothers.

And, as we predicted at the time we fought for this legislation, businesses are finding that the new law is easy to administer and costs are non-existent or small. The majority of leaves are short in duration and most workers return to their jobs. In fact, some businesses testified to the Commission that the new law has helped them reduce employee turnover, enhance productivity and improve the morale of their workforce.

The Family and Medical Leave Act has brought many Americans a benefit that was once afforded only to a fortunate few -- the knowledge that they can return to their jobs and keep their health benefits if they need unpaid time off to meet medical or family needs. Thanks to the work of this bi-partisan commission, we now have further proof of what I have always known: the Family and Medical Leave Act was, and is, the right thing to do for America's working families.