Calif. Agency Receives Grant To Study Paid Family Leave Policies
The U.S. Department of Labor's Women's Bureau has awarded grants to the California Employment Development Department and seven other organizations to research and analyze paid family leave policies, Bethesda Magazine reports (Kraut, Bethesda Magazine, 9/29).
Background on Paid Leave
According to DOL, paid leave policies have been found to:
- Bolster earnings over time;
- Improve employee retention and cut down on turnover, reducing training costs;
- Improve health outcomes for children, seniors and sick adults; and
- Keep employees attached to the labor force.
However, paid family leave policies are available to just 12% of private-sector employees.
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees that workers can take unpaid leave to care for newborns, newly adopted children, sick family members or their own health without losing their job. But according to DOL, many workers cannot afford to take unpaid leave (DOL release , 9/29).
Meanwhile, California, New Jersey and Rhode Island have implemented their own paid leave policies (Bethesda Magazine, 9/29).
According to DOL, California was the first state to implement a comprehensive paid family leave program, in 2004. The program offers partial wage replacement to eligible employees who take leave to care for a sick child, domestic partner, grandparent, parent, parent-in-law, sibling or spouse (DOL release , 9/29). The program is funded by employee insurance contributions (Bethesda Magazine, 9/29).
Details of Grants
This week, DOL's Women's Bureau awarded eight grants totaling $1.55 million to organizations across the country. The funding builds on $500,000 in grants that were awarded in 2014.
The state Employment Development Department will receive a $250,000 grant to study more than a decade of paid family leave data in the state and determine the economic and social effects of such policies.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez in a release said, "The United States is one of the few countries on Earth without national paid leave," adding, "Fortunately, we have seen remarkable progress outside of Washington, where innovative state and local officials are designing paid-leave policies that work for their citizens."
Perez said the studies funded by this week's round of grants "will help further our understanding of the issue and design programs that work for our economy" (DOL release , 9/29).
In a conference call, Perez added, "While adopting paid leave policies has some costs, the status quo has a much greater cost. Research findings, statistics and the experience of America's working families paints a very stark picture of all the benefits we forego and the negative impacts we experience without paid leave" (McGee, Tennessean, 9/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.