Paid Family and Medical Leave Research

The U.S. is the only Organization for Economic Co-Operation (OECD) member nation to lack a national paid leave program. While the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides job-protections to workers who take leave, it only covers about 60 percent of the workforce and it provides unpaid  leave. Many people cannot afford to take unpaid leave from work and must choose between their jobs or their health or the health of their families.  

A well-designed PFML program allows workers to take time off from work to attend to their health needs or the needs of a loved one with pay and without fear of losing their jobs.  

PFML benefits all workers, including: 

  • Workers who experience a long-term chronic illness like cancer or depression  
  • Workers who experience a non-work related injury  
  • Workers who have disabilities or serious health conditions 
  • Workers who care for loved ones with disabilities or serious health conditions 
  • New parents to adoptive, foster, or newborn children  

NCCP has long conducted research on paid family and medical leave (PMFL) to identify policies that work well for low-income families with children. NCCP’s research focuses on the states that have passed their own PFML programs. State programs vary in terms of how they are funded, how benefits are administered, the level of paid supports, the length of leave, and which family members are covered, among other dimensions (see NCCP’s policy tracker for more details). These state variations provide a wealth of evidence on how paid leave programs should be structured to strengthen family relationships, improve maternal and infant health, contribute to family economic security, benefit employers, and increase equity in access to leave.   

Publications 

Past projects related to paid leave  

New Jersey Parenting Project

Disability Perspectives on Leave

Public comments related to unpaid and paid leave 

Response to DOL RFI on US paid leave programs, September 2020

Comment Request; Information Collections: The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, As Amended, Control Number 1235-0003, October 2019

Comments on DC Universal Paid Leave proposed regulations, April 2018

Comments on proposed WA PFL Rules, May 2018   

Recent Partners on Paid Leave Work 

The Arc of United States

National Partnership for Women and Families

Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University

Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN)

Advocates for Children New Jersey

New Jersey Citizen Action

New Jersey Time to Care Coalition 

Contacts 

Heather Koball, Co-Director  
koball@nccp.org 

Suma Setty, Project Director 
setty@nccp.org  

Seth Hartig, Senior Research Associate 
hartig@nccp.org