We were saddened to hear of the passing of congresswoman Patricia Schroeder earlier this week. As we learned more about her, we had to make her the first in a new feature on the blog focused on trailblazers.
Congresswoman Schroeder was a pioneer in Washington, becoming the first female elected to the House of Representatives from Colorado in 1972, she served 12 terms total over the course of 24 years. Perhaps her biggest legacy was championing the Family and Medical Leave Act which became a law in 1993.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (or FMLA) was a monumental piece of federal legislation that grants the right to take time off of work due to illness or to care for an ill dependent without losing your job. While not specifically focused on people with a cancer diagnosis (or those caring for them), the FMLA provides eligible individuals with cancer, or certain family members, the ability to take time off while protecting their job and their health insurance. It allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave (which may be used all at once or as short as a few hours at a time, depending on company policies). Like all laws, there are requirements that must be met by the employer and the employee, for more information on the FMLA and other legal protections in the workplace, click here.
Representative Schroeder’s tireless advocacy for Americans with medical needs has aided countless people in the cancer community and beyond, and Cancer and Careers is thankful for her work and the legacy she leaves behind. To read more about Patricia Schroeder, click here.