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SHRM Advocacy

Workplace Flexibility & Leave

The cornerstone of federal leave in the U.S. is the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), which provides 12-weeks of uncompensated, job-protected leave for eligible employees. Signed over 30 years ago, the significant shift in the paid and unpaid leave landscapes, as well as significant changes in federal accommodations, worker classifications and the entire culture of work have left FMLA’s application in the modern world unclear.

SHRM's Position on Workplace Flexibility & Leave:

SHRM calls on Congress to address the needs of the modern workplace with smart, commonsense approaches to bring workplace flexibility and leave policies in line with the needs of the modern world of work.

SHRM supports legislation that seeks to increase harmonization and clarity for employers and employees, especially as it pertains to the rights, responsibilities and obligations created by the FMLA and other leave laws.

Every worker deserves access to quality care for their loved ones without sacrificing their careers. Small and mid-sized employers need assistance to provide access to these benefits. Congress, it is time to remove barriers to address the needs of the modern worker and workplace.

Emily M. Dickens, Chief of Staff and Head of Public Affairs


A Commonsense Approach to Paid Leave

To increase meaningful access to paid family and medical leave, Congress should support legislation that creates a voluntary national paid family and medical leave insurance market to enable cost pooling and ensure regulatory consistency for participating employers. A balanced approach with bipartisan appeal should seek to offer a path to expand access to paid family and medical leave for workers, provide flexibility in the design of benefit programs and increase regulatory consistency for multistate employers.

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SHRM’s Guidelines for Inclusion in Any National Proposal Moving Forward:

  • Expand meaningful access to compensated paid leave to U.S. workers 
  • Provide flexibility to organizations in benefit design 
  • Increase regulatory consistency for multi-state employers 
  • Address the patchwork of state and local laws 
  • Adopt an “Actuarially Equivalent Standard” with appropriate safeguards 
  • Create a shared market for employers to tap into pooled resources 
  • Mitigate the burdens associated with self-funding 
  • Reduce administrative costs associated with compliance 
  • Accommodate for differences in work environments, industries and organizational size 

Extending Support for the FAIR Leave Act

On Nov. 7, 2023, SHRM shared its support of the Fair Access for Individuals to Receive Leave Act (FAIR Leave Act) with its sponsoring officials, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. SHRM supports the efforts of the FAIR Leave Act as a positive step toward modernizing the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). SHRM will continue to support legislation, such as the FAIR Leave Act, in an effort to increase equity and clarity for employers and employees, especially as it pertains to the rights, responsibilities and obligations created by the FMLA. In supporting these proposed amendments, SHRM elevates our members’ collective experience and expertise to advocate for smart policies with a bold purpose.
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SHRM Retirement Benefits Policy Priorities

  • Comprehensive employer-sponsored benefits packages are key to an employer’s ability to attract and retain top talent. Employers carefully construct their benefits packages to reflect the needs and demands of their specific workforce, and public policy should offer incentives and flexibility to allow employers to deliver these valued benefits to their employees.
  • SHRM engages in advocacy efforts to promote policies that enhance retirement security for workers. This includes advocating that employees have access to retirement plans; simplifying retirement plan administration; and supporting measures to increase retirement plan participation.
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Learn More About Workplace Flexibility & Leave

Learn more by downloading SHRM’s workplace flexibility and leave one-pager or contacting SHRM Government Affairs at governmentaffairs@shrm.org.