Failure to update: An institutional perspective on noncompliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act

Erin L. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

At least one-quarter of covered workplaces violated the parental leave requirements of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) when surveyed in 1997. What explains this noncompliance? Using a survey of 389 U.S. workplaces and qualitative interviews with managers in 40 organizations, I demonstrate that noncompliance comes in distinct forms. Some forms of noncompliance result from a failure to update institutionalized-and gendered-policies, practices, and norms. This form of noncompliance (indicated by illegally short leaves) is better explained by the institutional perspective, while outright noncompliance (as evidenced by a lack of leaves) is best explained by rational choice and deviant culture theories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-66
Number of pages34
JournalLaw and Society Review
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2010

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