On Aug. 5, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 began requiring employers with 50 or more employees to allow workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave a year for childbirth, adoption, to care for family members with health problems, or when a condition makes the employee unable to work.

The law also requires employers to continue health insurance coverage for these employees, according to Towers Perrin, a business consulting firm. The firm conducted a study which found that 69 percent of medium-sized and large firms already offer employees either paid or unpaid leave.

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