Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 11 No. 3 (Summer 1997)


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Policy Watch: The Family and Medical Leave Act

Article Citation

Ruhm, Christopher J. 1997. "Policy Watch: The Family and Medical Leave Act." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 11(3): 175-186.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.11.3.175


This article summarizes the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act, its possible effects on labor markets, and the resulting changes in the ability of workers to take leave. The author concludes that the actual provisions of the act are quite modest and have yielded neither large benefits to workers nor imposed significant costs on employers. One reason for this is that few workers gained significant new rights to time off work because the legislation contains many exemptions and employees often had other mechanisms for obtaining leave prior to its enactment.

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Ruhm, Christopher J. (U NC, Greensboro and NBER)

JEL Classifications

I18: Health: Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
J38: Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs: Public Policy


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