News Release

Please note:  As of January 20, 2017, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.

Paid leave effort gets $1.25M to study expansion in U.S.

US Department of Labor's Women's Bureau offers funding opportunity

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that $1.25 million will be made available to research and analyze how paid leave programs can be developed and implemented across the country. The department's Women's Bureau will administer the funding opportunity.

The funding opportunity announcement came during a Google+ Hangout on paid leave, hosted by Women's Bureau Director Latifa Lyles. Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, White House economist adviser Betsey Stevenson and others joined her in the online event. The event was a virtual stop on the "Lead on Leave" tour to stress the importance of paid leave for working American families.

"Too many workers across the U.S. lack even a single day of paid leave to care for their families or themselves," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez following the announcement. "A worker shouldn't be forced to choose between employment they need and the family they love. These grants will help states and cities lead on paid leave and give more working families the flexibility they need."

Greater access to paid leave is a priority for the Obama administration. A number of state and local governments have adopted or are now considering paid leave legislation. This grant program will enable similar actions in other jurisdictions. The Funding Opportunity Announcement outlines the grant priorities, evaluation factors, and application guidance for up to 10 competitive grants.

"These grants will encourage the development of programs that will benefit businesses and enable all workers, especially those in low wage jobs, to take time off to care for themselves and their families without risking their economic security," said Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Obama.

The funding announcement today builds upon a 2014 Women's Bureau grant program that awarded a total of $500,000 to support paid leave feasibility studies in three states and the District of Columbia.

The Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees unpaid, job-protected leave for workers to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, a seriously ill family member, or their own serious health condition. However, many workers, especially low-wage workers, cannot afford to take unpaid time off. Paid family and medical leave programs help workers with caregiving responsibilities and medical needs remain in the workforce, and paid maternity and paternity leave has been shown to improve health outcomes for children. With this grant program, the Department of Labor is taking a critical step toward helping jurisdictions throughout the United States develop the administrative and financial infrastructure necessary to meet the realities of today's working families while also bolstering the Nation's long-term economic success.

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