Family and Medical Leave Act

Activity Description:


To determine from both the standpoint of a small business employer and from the standpoint of an employee whether the leave should be expanded to include paid leave or whether employers should have more discretion in granting or denying leave


  1. Log onto the website for the Department of Labor. Locate the page for the FMLA statute:
  2. (This URL should lead you directly to the FMLA page on the website of the U.S. Dept. of Labor. If it does not, go to and follow the links to the ESA [Employment Standards Administration] page and follow the links on that page to the FMLA information.)
  3. Consider the following factual situation: Irma Gutierrez started a house cleaning business eight years ago. The reputation of House Engineers-R-Us, for excellent service, reliability, and competitive pricing has meant continued growth for Gutierrez’s business. She is now considering expanding her business, by doubling the workforce, in order to begin bidding on the lucrative office cleaning and maintenance business. However, Gutierrez is concerned that the expansion of her business will bring her within the FMLA and will mean she will have to grant leave to employees whenever they request it. Since hers is a labor intensive business she is concerned that the FMLA will prevent her from maintaining a stable workforce. Gutierrez’s business is located in a state where there is not a state FMLA.
  4. Outline specific points about the FMLA that could assuage Gutierrez’s concerns about the FMLA. Are there any concerns that could be valid? How could she handle these concerns?
  5. As a successful small business owner, Ms. Gutierrez has been asked to testify before a committee of the state legislature about the impact of the FMLA on small businesses. The legislators are considering the passage of a state FMLA. As a small business owner, what might be Gutierrez’s concerns about a state FMLA?

Activity Source:

Content contributed by Carol F. Nowicki as a Suggested Work and Family Class Activity