Study: Employers not hiring women due to FMLA, WV advocacy group says not quite

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A new study says the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, could be causing some employers to hesitate when hiring women, but a West Virginia women’s advocacy group is staying positive.

“West Virginia is a great place to be and it can only get better,” said Kate Flack, development associate for West Virginia Free.

The study said women are 8 percent less likely to get a promotion once they hold a job, but also that women are 5 percent likely to remain employed.

Flack said the FMLA and family-friendly policies are positive steps toward equality in the workplace. She said the FMLA isn’t the problem, rather, employers’ inaccurate perceptions.

“They might think, ‘I don’t want to offer a woman a promotion because it means more responsibility and she might take (time) off and I can’t rely on her,’” Flack said. “The problem is, that’s not true. Women don’t take as much family and medical leave time as much as employers think they will.”

Flack and West Virginia Free helped support the passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which makes it illegal to discriminate against women and also makes it so pregnant women can have reasonable accommodations within the workplace. That act goes into effect July 1.

“We realize discrimination as a country is not allowed,” Flack said. “We can’t have that anymore.”


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