Mar 22, 2003
Press Release

(New York, March 22) In her welcoming remarks to the 10th Annual Gay and Lesbian Business Expo at the Javits Convention Center today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Manhattan & Queens) announced that she had re-introduced federal legislation to include domestic partners and other relationships under the terms of the Family and Medical Leave Act. Enacted in 1993, the landmark legislation protects employees who need time off from work to care for a sick spouse, parent, or child from being subject to sanctions by their employers. The legislation applies to workers in companies with more than 50 employees. Congresswoman Maloney's amendment to the Act would expand the protections in the original law to domestic partners and others, including grandparents, siblings, and in-laws.

Maloney said, "The Family Medical Leave Act is an extraordinarily successful law that allows families to provide much needed care for loved ones. Current law unfairly penalizes gays and lesbians who also need to care for their loved ones. The legislation I have introduced will enable people in a committed relationship to take time to care for an ailing partner, just as married couples can under current law."

In enacting the Family and Medical Leave Act, Congress protected workers required to take time off to care for a sick relative from being penalized by employers. This protection, however, only extends to a spouse, parent or child. Congresswoman Maloney's bill would further amend the law to protect employees who need to care for an ailing domestic partner, grandparent, mother-in-law or father-in-law, or a sibling.

"Congress was short sighted in excluding domestic partners, grandparents, siblings, and close family members from the Family and Medical Leave Act," Maloney said in her remarks at the Gay and Lesbian Business Expo. "This legislation will guarantee that long term domestic partners and family members are not punished when taking time to care for a loved one."