Paid family leave
Paid family leave refers to leaves taken from work for the purpose of recovering from a serious illness, to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a newly born or newly adopted child, during which the leave-taker receives some level of financial support from the employer, an insurance policy, or a government program. Other names for paid family leave include "family disability leave", "family leave insurance" and "paid parental leave".
Paid family leave has been available as a legal right and/or governmental program for many years, in one form or another, in most countries – with the exceptions of the United States of America, Papua New Guinea, Suriname, and Liberia.
Paid Family Leave in the United States
The passage of the United States' Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 provides for 12 weeks of unpaid family leave to workers that work at a business with 50 or more employees. The FMLA intentionally left the provision for the use of accrued paid leave to ease the financial burden of an extended leave, but this may not benefit many of the people FMLA was intended to help. The state of California enacted the first government-run Paid Family Leave program in the United States, though the program is funded entirely through the contributions of workers. In May 2007, the state of Washington enacted legislation providing paid family leave for bonding with and caring for new children; becoming the second state to pass paid family leave legislation. The portion of the 2007 legislation mandating paid leave was not funded, however, so Washington residents still currently have no access to this benefit. New Jersey also has established a paid leave program.
As of May 2007, no commercial insurer has offered any form of commercially available Family Leave Insurance that provides a source of income during unpaid family leaves, though two US patent applications have been filed for methods of providing such insurance. Certain credit card issuers and other lenders have for years offered "credit protection" insurance that pays either minimum payments or interest only on the credit balances during certain "family leaves". These types of insurance are usually sold as "credit protection" or "credit score protection".
With California, New Jersey, and Washington being the only states that have implemented paid family leave programs, the United States is left as the only advanced industrialized nation without one. The absence of a paid maternity leave has affects the ability for many women to take one, for lack of financial means. This affects low income, single, and minority mothers in greater numbers.
In December 2013, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Represenatitve Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced legislation seeking to create a national paid family leave program. If passed, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act of 2013 ("FAMILY Act”) — S. 1810 and H.R. 3712 — would provide workers with up to 12 weeks of paid family leave at up to 66% of their earned wages.
- "In Paid Family Leave, U.S. Trails Most of the Globe". New York Times. February 22, 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-07.
- "EMPLOYMENT LAW -- FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT OF 1993 -- DEPARTMENT OF LABOR REGULATIONS ALTER SUBSTITUTION OF PAID LEAVE PROVISION UNDER THE FMLA. -- FMLA Final Rule, 73 Fed. Reg. 67, 934 (Nov. 17, 2008) (Codified At 29 C.F.R. Pt. 825 (2009))." Harvard Law Review 123.2 (2009): 604-611. Academic Search Complete. Web. 16 Oct. 2013
- Richard, Katherine (July 26, 2013). "Endless Delays May Doom Paid Family Leave In Washington State". ThinkProgress. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
- "How Paid Family Leave Affects Mothers In The Labor Force." Monthly Labor Review 135.3 (2012): 66-67. Business Source Complete. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.
- "Getting Punched: The Job and Family Clock" Levin-Epstein, Jodie Center for Law and Social Policy (July 2006)
- "Opportunity at Work: Improving Job Quality" Lower-Basch, Elizabeth Center for Law and Social Policy (September 2007)
- "Responsive Workplaces: The Business Case for Employment That Values Fairness and Families" Levin-Epstein, Jodie Reprinted from The American Prospect, March 7, 2006