The Family and Medical Leave Act: Implications for Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing

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The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted in 1993 to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families. Balancing work and family responsibilities will affect most workers as they experience their own serious illness or care for a child or a parent. The FMLA continues to present challenges regarding medical certifications, recordkeeping, intermittent leave management, and lack of understanding by employees and employers about rights and responsibilities under the law. This article discusses the rights and responsibilities of both parties. It also discusses how the occupational and environmental health nurse can bridge the gap between meeting the needs of the employee and those of the employer by serving as educator, advocate, and liaison/collaborator, leading to measurable cost savings for the employer and immeasurable benefits for the employee.

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