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March 04, 2022



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Washington, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) joined Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) and Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) to introduce the Job Protection Act, new legislation to expand the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 to all U.S. workers. The Job Protection Act would be the largest expansion of FMLA coverage in nearly 30 years and would expand FMLA protections to all employees no matter the size of their employer or part time status and would shorten the timeline for employees to be eligible for coverage from one year to 90 days.  

“The expansion of FMLA coverage under the Job Protection Act will be necessary to ensure any universal paid leave program is truly equitable and extends to the most vulnerable workers,” said Rep. Clarke.  “I am proud to support Representative Underwood and Senator Smith as they introduce the Job Protection Act.” 

“The Job Protection Act is common-sense legislation to ensure every worker in America can take family and medical leave without risking losing their job,” said Underwood. “As we build a better America by fighting to expand paid leave, it’s essential to ensure workers—whether they work for a small employer or work part time—also have the right to return to their jobs following leave.” 

“Under our current laws, employees are required to work for the same employer for an entire year before they are eligible for job protection if they have to take leave for a family or medical circumstance,” said Senator Smith. “The Job Protection Act would make sure that millions more workers can take family or medical leave and not have to choose between their jobs and taking care of their families.”

A fact sheet on the Job Protection Act can be found here and a list of the over 100 national, state, and local organizations who endorse the Job Protection Act, including paid leave advocates, women’s and labor rights organizations, labor unions, and small business organizations can be found here.  

The Job Protection Act expands FMLA coverage to all workers and strengthens the law’s protections by:  

  • Expanding protections to those working for smaller employers by reducing the current FMLA coverage threshold from 50 employees to one employee. 
    • It also eliminates the requirement that a workplace have 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius, which currently excludes an estimated 33 million workers.  
  • Protecting part-time workers and those working multiple jobs by eliminating the requirement that an employee work 1,250 hours at a single workplace over the previous year.
    • The hours requirement disproportionately impacts women—nearly two-thirds of part-time workers are women.  
  • Ensuring that people changing jobs or returning to the workforce will be protected by reducing the amount of time they must have worked at their workplace from 12 months to 90 days.
    • This requirement excludes more than one in five workers, and especially large shares of women (23.3 percent), Hispanic workers (25.5 percent) and Black workers (25.8 percent).  


Yvette D. Clarke has been in Congress since 2007. She represents New York’s Ninth Congressional District, which includes Central and South Brooklyn. Clarke is a Senior Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where she serves on the Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee, and is a Senior Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

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