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News Release

$500K for studies on expanding paid family and medical leave provided by US Labor Department grants

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 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.

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September 24, 2014
Release Number
Media Contact: Laura McGinnis