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 WASHINGTON, June 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Faced with a gravely ill spouse or parent or the birth of a child, more than four out of every 10 working women would take all 12 weeks of unpaid leave they will soon be entitled to under federal law, according to a nationwide poll released today by the Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (BNA).
 The BNA-commissioned poll, taken May 27-28, suggested that most working women remain the primary caregivers for their families and thus will take greatest advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act's provisions. However, most men also were willing to take significant amounts of unpaid leave for major family events.
 The FMLA, which takes effect Aug. 5, requires employers of 50 or more persons to grant employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for the birth or adoption of a child or the serious illness of a child, spouse or parent. FMLA implementing regulations are to be published June 4 in the Federal Register.
 The BNA poll found:
 -- Only 7 percent of men said they would take 12 weeks of unpaid leave at the birth or adoption of a child, compared to 43 percent of working women. Men would take an average of 2.7 weeks off at a birth of a child, compared to an average of 8.5 weeks for women.
 -- On average, men said they would take 5.7 unpaid weeks off to care for a spouse or parent with a life-threatening illness, compared to an average of 8.4 weeks off for women. One in four men (25 percent) would take the maximum 12 weeks off, compared to almost half (46 percent) of working women to care for an ill spouse or parent.
 -- Men would take 1.2 unpaid weeks off to care for a child with a serious but not life-threatening illness, such as mononucleosis or strep throat, compared to an average leave of 2.3 weeks for women.
 Men were much less inclined than women to forego any earnings in order to care for a newborn or sick child. More than one out of five employed men (21 percent) would not take any unpaid leave for a birth or adoption, compared with just 4 percent of working women. Similarly, 26 percent of working men would not take any unpaid leave if their child had a serious but not life-threatening illness, compared with fewer than one out of 10 women (9 percent).
 Among all employed respondents, the average reported amount of unpaid leave that would be taken was 6.9 weeks for a parent or spouse with a life-threatening illness, 5.3 weeks for the birth or adoption of a child, and 1.7 weeks for a child with a serious, but not life- threatening illness.
 Household income played a relatively small role in how much leave would be taken in most situations. However, more than one out of every four persons (27 percent) reporting incomes of over $40,000 said they wouldn't take any time off to care for a sick child, compared to just 2 percent of persons earning less than $15,000.
 The poll found that almost half of all Americans (49 percent) believe the Family and Medical Leave Act is a good law that should not be modified. Twenty-four percent said the FMLA puts too many burdens on employers, while 17 percent said the law doesn't ask employers to do enough. Eleven percent had no opinion.
 Much of the business community remains wary of the law, particularly smaller businesses. "The workers that were polled will be the very ones hurt by the act," warned Mary Reed a lobbyist for the National Federation of Independent Business, which has predicted layoffs due to the law. The NFIB has calculated that employers will pay $729 in health insurance premiums for each worker taking the full 12-week leave, in addition to the cost of hiring temporary replacements. The law requires employers to maintain any existing health insurance program during FMLA leave.
 However, Barney Olmsted, co-director of New Ways to Work, a San Francisco-based work/family consulting firm, said studies have demonstrated that the FMLA can actually boost productivity. She noted that most leading industrialized nations have long had laws similar to the FMLA.
 The telephone poll, conducted for BNA by Bruskin/Goldring Research of Edison, N.J., surveyed 1,007 persons over the age of 18, of whom 694 were employed. Apart from the questions asking for views on the FMLA itself, survey results are based only on responses from employed persons. The poll carries a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points for the 1,000 person sample, and 4 percentage points for the sample of employees.
 BNA, founded in 1929, is an employee-owned news and information publisher headquartered in Washington and specializes in coverage of business regulation and law. A report on the poll will be contained in a special supplement on the Family and Medical Leave Act that will accompany BNA services including Daily Labor Report and BNA's Employee Regulations weekly.
 -0- 6/3/93
 /CONTACT: Susan Dell of Edelman Public Relations, 202-371-0200; or Margie Teed of The Bureau of National Affairs, 202-452-4126/

CO: The Bureau of National Affairs ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:

MH-DS -- DC003 -- 4809 06/03/93 09:09 EDT
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Date:Jun 3, 1993

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