Is the Work-Family Conflict Pathological or Normal Under the FMLA? The Potential of the FMLA to Cover Ordinary Work-Family Conflicts


The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides relief to workers, helping them in their struggle to meet the sometimes competing demands of work and family. There have been numerous attempts to expand legislation to cover more occasions where work and family obligations are in tension. This Essay will address one way that the courts may be expanding the Act’s application. It will investigate whether this modest interpretive expansion can be explained partially by society’s deeper understanding of the challenges of work-family balance over the ten years since the FMLA’s passage. Have we changed our general understanding of conflicts between employment and family work from occasional and extraordinary events to frequent and ordinary ones? Consequently, is the paradigmatic work-family conflict pathological or normal under the FMLA?


Parental leave, Parenting



Katharine B. Silbaugh (Boston University School of Law)



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