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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release August 5, 1998
                      STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
      On the Fifth Anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act

Five years ago today, the Family and Medical Leave Act went into effect, giving tens of millions of Americans the peace of mind that they would never have to choose between the jobs they need and the families they love. I am very proud that the Family and Medical Leave Act was the very first piece of legislation I signed into law.

Millions of Americans have benefited from this historic legislation by taking time off -- without fear of losing their jobs -- to care for a newborn or adopted child, to attend to their own serious health needs, or to care for a seriously ill parent, child or spouse. In addition, a report issued today by the Department of Labor shows the relative ease with which the law has been implemented -- the overwhelming majority of employers have found the FMLA easy to administer and nine out of ten complaints have been successfully resolved, often with a simple phone call.

I have always believed that we can help our workers fulfill their family responsibilities and strengthen the economy and America's businesses. For five years, the Family and Medical Leave Act has helped us to fulfill both of those critical goals.