CEPR

For Immediate Release: August 2, 2018
Contact: Karen Conner, (202) 293-5380 x117, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Washington, DC ―Twenty-five years ago, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) went into effect. The law had a transformative impact on the US workplace. For the first time, employers were required to provide covered employees with unpaid leave for medical- and family-related purposes.

But as Alan Barber points out in today’s CEPR Blog, the United States continues to be the only country besides Papua New Guinea without any nationwide paid maternity leave.

Six jurisdictions (CA, NJ, NY, RI, WA, and DC) have already passed legislation creating paid family and medical leave programs that are embraced by workers, and are a non-event for employers. These state-level programs are funded much like the familiar unemployment insurance program: workers make small contributions to an insurance pool from which they can draw during their leave.

But at the federal level, two proposals would jeopardize either unemployment or social security benefits for programs that fall far short of the successful plans already providing near universal paid leave in some of the nation’s most populous states.