Policy Watch

Workplace Flexibility + Leave



The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is the only federal law governing leave in the workplace. Beyond the FMLA, many employers voluntarily offer generous paid-leave programs to help employees fulfill their work and personal responsibilities, offering flexibility to both employees and employers. Additionally, to better support the work/life needs of today's diverse workforce, a growing number of employers offer flexible work arrangements such as compressed workweeks, telecommuting and flexible schedules.



U.S. employers are burdened by a patchwork of state and local paid leave laws that create a fragmented compliance system for them to navigate. At the same time, employers are struggling to balance the needs of their businesses as they offer competitive paid leave programs and flexible work arrangements necessary to attract and retain employees.


SHRM Position

  • Voluntary Leave: SHRM encourages employers to voluntarily offer paid leave and flexible work options to their employees. 
  • No Mandates: SHRM believes government mandates limit employer flexibility. Public policy should accommodate varying work environments, employee representation, industries and organizational size. 
  • Federal Framework: SHRM supports public policies that provide employers with certainty and predictability through a voluntary federal framework rather than a fragmented patchwork of state and local laws.

Bottom Line

The modern workforce is diverse and can’t be managed with one-size-fits-all government mandates. The U.S. needs a 21st-century workplace flexibility and paid leave policy that works for both employers and employees.

Upcoming EventsSee All Events

October 17 - 18
June 11 - 14
SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2023