44 id at 737 45 bhushan supra note 2 at 687 46

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724. 44. Id. at 737. 45. Bhushan, supra note 2, at 687. 46. Hearing on S. 110-851, supra note 24, at 3-4 (noting that financial burdens have kept many families from taking their "earned family medical leave"). [Vol. 37:1
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ENCOURAGING WORK-FAMILY BALANCE language of FMLA does little to encourage fathers to take paternity leave, doing little to aid working mothers in practice. 47 1. Limited applicability FMLA has stringent eligibility requirements, applying only to employers with 50 or more employees. 48 This requirement is quite strict compared to, for instance, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids employment discrimination based on protected class status, and applies to employers with only 15 or more employees. 49 Moreover, in order to be eligible for FMLA leave, employees must have worked at least 1,250 hours for their employer in the previous 12-month period. 50 Due to these restrictive eligibility requirements, in 2005, only 54% of the workforce was eligible for FMLA leave. 51 Furthermore, FMLA only provides for twelve weeks of leave per year. 52 This is a relatively short length of time compared to family leave laws of many industrialized nations. 53 The applicability of FMLA only to employees of larger companies disproportionately impacts lower-income employees who are more in need of maternity and paternity protection, as smaller employers tend to pay lower wages and provide fewer paid benefits than employers covered by FMLA. 54 Furthermore, requiring employees to work for a single employer for 1,250 hours disregards the reality that many younger workers in 47. See, e.g., Bhushan, supra note 2, at 689-90 (asserting there is little evidence to indicate that the FMLA has had any bearing on men's paternal leave taking or leave lengths and perpetuates "stereotypes of women and caregivers and restrict[s] their employment opportunities and advancement"). 48. Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, 29 U.S.C. § 2611(4)(A)(i) (2012). 49. Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(b) (2006). 50. 29 U.S.C. § 2611(2)(A)(i)-(ii). 51. Bhushan, supra note 2, at 687. 52. 29 U.S.C. § 2612(a)(1). 53. See WORLD ECON. FORUM, supra note 6, at 66-86 tbl.E1 (outlining the length of maternity and paternity leave offered by each country analyzed in the report, including dozens of countries offering more than twelve weeks of maternity leave). 54. See Heather Boushey, The Role of Government in Work-Family Conflict, 21 THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN 163, 174 (2011) (explaining that a law which only covers workers in firms with fifty or more employees excludes a third of all U.S. workers, particularly those who tend to earn less). 20151
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HO USTON JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW childbearing years perform part-time work, temporary work, or work multiple jobs concurrently, all of which decrease the likelihood that such employees will satisfy the minimum hour requirement of FMLA. 55 Although smaller employers who are not covered by FMLA may choose to provide family leave, only half of employers not covered by the law offer a full twelve weeks of family leave to their employees.
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