In the upcoming weeks, the halls of Congress will welcome a number of new faces and bid farewell to many other personalities. One of those personalities riding into the sunset is the longtime Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut. Putting aside for now whether you love him or hate him, Senator Dodd leaves at least one significant legacy behind — passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act. As the author of the FMLA, which was passed in 1993, and sponsor of several bills pending in Congress that would expand the FMLA, Senator Dodd clearly has been a strong voice for employees in the workplace.
As Daniel Schwartz points out in his employment blog, Senator Dodd shaped the FMLA into what we see in the workplace today. Although I might quibble just a bit with his assertion that 90% of employers believe that the FMLA has had a neutral or positive impact on their workplace, it is clear that the FMLA has affected the manner in which employers conduct business and in which employees now are able to attend to legitimate medical conditions that render them unable to perform their job and to care for loved ones in a similar situation.