The Family and Medical Leave Act requires employers to provide job-protected leave, but little is known about how these leave rights operate in practice or how they interact with other normative systems to construct the meaning of leave. Drawing on interviews with workers who negotiated contested leaves, this study examines how social institutions influence workplace mobilization of these rights. I find that leave rights remain embedded within institutionalized conceptions of work, gender, and disability that shape workers' perceptions, preferences, and choices about mobilizing their rights. I also find, however, that workers can draw on law as a culture discourse to challenge these assumptions, to build coalitions, and to renegotiate the meaning of leave.

Included in

Legislation Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.