Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Anne Hacker


The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has had significant influence on both for-profit and nonprofit employers since it was enacted in 1993. Because nonprofit organizations often have more limited resources than for-profit organizations, implementing family and medical leave policy mandates can be problematic. Arts-related nonprofit organizations often have even fewer resources available yet must still ensure legal compliance and market competitiveness while continuing to focus on meeting their missions. Even if a smaller nonprofit organization is not subject to the FMLA, it is subject to other federal, state, and local employment laws, and the organization must decide whether to offer unpaid or paid family and medical leave, perhaps styled after the FMLA. The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand how those who conduct human resource functions in nonprofit arts organizations would perceive governmental prompting toward providing FMLA and paid leave in relation to their ability to meet their missions. This question was explored through the lens of nudge theory and involved interviews with nine HR professionals from nonprofit arts organizations. Data were analyzed using Bazeley and Jackson's bucket coding and Yin's explanation building processes. The results of the study indicated that HR professionals perceived little to no effects of the FMLA on their nonprofit arts organizations' ability to meet their missions. The social change implications of this study involve providing insights to policymakers that could inform decisions about family and medical leave mandates or nudges toward a desired outcome regarding these leaves of absence in the nonprofit sector.