Only 14 percent of American workers have access to paid family leave, forcing most working men and women to choose between a child and a paycheck.
The United States is the only industrialized country with no federal law providing some level of paid family leave, leaving us lagging behind the rest of the world.
The Family and Medical Leave Act provides most workers in the U.S. with 12 weeks of unpaid time off for the birth, adoption, or fostering of a new child; caring for sick or injured family members; the employee’s own serious health condition; and family issues that arise when a loved one is serving overseas.
Currently, six states and Washington, D.C., require companies to offer some level of paid family leave to their workers, and other states are considering it as well.
Benefits of Paid Family Leave
Studies document the many benefits of providing paid leave, including less employee turnover and absenteeism, greater employee attachment to their jobs, more household economic security, and improved health outcomes for workers and their families.
New parents have more time to bond with their children in the crucial, earliest stages of their development, without having to worry about rushing back to work to earn a paycheck.
Employees who are seriously ill or have seriously ill family members can care for themselves or others without incurring a financial burden.
An employee whose spouse, child, or parent is deployed overseas or is a recently discharged veteran can use this paid leave to tend to health, wellness, financial, and other issues related to their military service.