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Federal and State Paid Leave Policies

by Symmetry Tax Updates | Feb 15, 2019

According to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. is the only industrialized country without a federal paid leave policy. However, this could change in the next few years. 

Since 1993, the U.S. has allowed workers 12 weeks, or 60 working days, of unpaid job-protected medical leave for various reasons under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In 2013, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY) was first introduced to offer national paid family leave plans to qualifying workers in the United States. Qualified workers would receive a portion of their income for 12 weeks to bond with a newborn, care for a sick family member, provide specific military care-giving or address their own medical issues. Even though it has not been accepted nationally, a handful of states have passed their own paid family leave programs.

National Partnership for Women and Families created a report earlier this month to display the differences between the State Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Laws. Some of these state FAMILY laws cover or plan to cover more than the qualifying issues listed above. New York, Washington and Massachusetts will offer paid family leave if a qualified worker has certain family members requiring immediate or foreseen assistance due to this family member being on active duty.

Each of the states listed in the report have small differences between the lengths of paid leave. New Jersey and New York have recorded planned increases in coming years for the length of family leave.

Other states, like Connecticut, have started discussing the implementation of their own paid family and medical leave insurance programs for the future.