Social Issues

Legislation guaranteeing parents of newborns or sick children time off the job may rise from the ashes. Last year, President Bush vetoed the Family & Medical Leave Act, which would have required 12 weeks of unpaid leave for new parents or workers facing family emergencies. Now, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has drawn up a substitute that may prove more acceptable to both business and the White House. The Hatch Bill removes the guarantee but mandates that employers must give returning parents a preference in hiring for up to six years after taking leave. New Labor Secretary Lynn Martin could give the measure a boost. She voted for the bill last year and has promised to "work with all sides" to find a compromise.