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FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT: Heteronormative and Singlist September 23, 2008

Posted by Onely in As If!.
Tags: , , , ,

Copious Readership, did you know that the Family and Medical Leave Act is heteronormative and singlist? Lookie here: 

Covered employers must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • for the birth and care of the newborn child of the employee;
  • for placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care;
  • to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
  • to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.
  • That’s right! You can get leave and be assured of having your job waiting for you when you get back–if you leave to care for someone in your nuclear family! Ok, well, actually–you’re allowed to take time off to care for your cousin or your grandmother–if/if they raised you as a mother. But if you have lived with that cousin for fifteen years as an adult and they had an accident or illness, FMLA would not support you taking time off to care for them.
  • Just another example of how entrenched our society is in the pairing-and-reproducing paradigm. We even legislate to protect this paradigm! Crazy, huh?  When G.W. Bush recently signed a resolution amending the FMLA so that a “spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin” could take up to 26 workweeks of leave to care for a member of the Armed Forces”, everyone was like “Ooo, ooo, how nice.” Well, yes, he extended the time period for veterans, which is good, but what about extending the Act itself to be more inclusive to those who live outside of the nuclear unit?  Oh, I’m sorry, I mean the nucular unit.
  • Ok, so what to DO about it? I DON’T KNOW! But I’m going to take a guess and say that writing an inspired letter to your congressional representative is a start. Find your representative in the House here. Find all your members of Congress here. Let them know that this law is state-sponsored singlism and doesn’t reflect modern realities of people’s social networks.
  • –CC
  • PS. I can’t get rid of these dang bullets, sorry.
  • PPS. I’m not even going to talk about how warped it is that same-sex couples can’t take time off work to care for each other because they’re not married, but they can’t get married. . . OOPS I TALKED ABOUT IT.


1. Chemistry.com solicits Onely! « Onely. - October 6, 2008

[…] make it a little easier.” Oh, J, do you really mean it? Are you going to petition Congress to amend the Family and Medical Leave Act? Are you going to demand that airlines and insurance companies and other corporations charge […]

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