WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor's Women's Bureau and Employment and Training Administration today awarded $500,000 to assist the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Montana and Rhode Island in funding feasibility studies on paid leave. The studies will inform the development or implementation of paid family and medical leave programs at the state level.
"Too many working families today can't afford to take the time they need to care for their families or themselves because they lack any form of paid leave," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "We need to do more to give people the tools to be responsible employees and good caregivers, so they don't have to choose between the families they love and the jobs and economic security they need. These federal grants will further our understanding of this issue. Because paid leave isn't just the right thing to do, it also makes economic sense."
- The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services will receive $96,281 to produce an economic impact analysis, financing and benefit models, and a cost-benefit study to assess the feasibility of enacting a paid family leave program.
- The Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards will receive $117,651 to conduct research and develop a microsimulation model that will help the state estimate eligibility, take-up and benefit costs of a variety of proposed paid family and medical leave programs.
- The Montana Department of Labor and Industry will receive $124,651 to research the feasibility and economic impact of creating a state paid family leave program — including providing financing, eligibility and benefit recommendations — and to conduct public opinion research for communications and implementation purposes.
- The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training will receive $161,417 to determine the effectiveness of the Rhode Island Temporary Caregiver Insurance Program and its benefits for Rhode Islanders, as well as the public's awareness of the program.
The Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees unpaid, job-protected leave for men and women to care for their newborn or newly adopted children, seriously ill family members, or their own health needs. However, many workers are unable to take unpaid time off because they cannot afford to do so. In recent years a few states have implemented paid leave programs to ensure that workers have the economic security to meet their families' needs. Paid leave programs have been shown to improve health outcomes for children, ill adults and seniors; reduce turnover and increase employee retention, which cuts down on training costs for businesses; keep workers attached to the labor force; and boost earnings over time.
For more information, visit http://www.dol.gov/paidleave.