Congress finds that—
the number of single-parent households and two-parent households in which the single parent or both parents work is increasing significantly;
it is important for the development of children and the family unit that fathers and mothers be able to participate in early childrearing and the care of family members who have serious health conditions;
the lack of employment policies to accommodate working parents can force individuals to choose between job security and parenting;
there is inadequate job security for employees who have serious health conditions that prevent them from working for temporary periods;
due to the nature of the roles of men and women in our society, the primary responsibility for family caretaking often falls on women, and such responsibility affects the working lives of women more than it affects the working lives of men; and
employment standards that apply to one gender only have serious potential for encouraging employers to discriminate against employees and applicants for employment who are of that gender.
It is the purpose of this Act—
to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families, to promote the stability and economic security of families, and to promote national interests in preserving family integrity;
to entitle employees to take reasonable leave for medical reasons, for the birth or adoption of a child, and for the care of a child, spouse, or parent who has a serious health condition;
to accomplish the purposes described in paragraphs (1) and (2) in a manner that accommodates the legitimate interests of employers;
to accomplish the purposes described in paragraphs (1) and (2) in a manner that, consistent with the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, minimizes the potential for employment discrimination on the basis of sex by ensuring generally that leave is available for eligible medical reasons (including maternity-related disability) and for compelling family reasons, on a gender-neutral basis; and
to promote the goal of equal employment opportunity for women and men, pursuant to such clause.
[Pub. L. 103–3, § 2], Feb. 5, 1993, [107 Stat. 6].)