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News Release

US Labor Department announces $1.1M to study paid-leave programs

Continues department’s ongoing work to support working families

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau today awarded $1.1 million in grants to research and analyze how paid-leave programs can be developed and implemented across the country. The grants build on the Paid Leave Analysis Grant Program that, since 2014, has committed more than $3 million to 17 states and municipalities to support research and analysis on the implementation of paid family and medical-leave programs.

Millions of working Americans have caregiving responsibilities for both young children and aging parents, but only 12 percent of private-sector workers have access to paid family leave through their employers. Those without access to paid family leave are unable to care for seriously ill loved ones without risking their jobs and losing their paychecks.

“Too many Americans are forced to choose between the job they need and the family they love. While Congress refuses to take action to make paid leave the law of the land, we have seen tremendous leadership at the state and local levels to expand access to these programs,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “The grants we are announcing today will help innovative state and local officials design paid-leave policies that work for their citizens. These important grants build on our work to make sure that people have the tools to be responsible employees and good caregivers.”

Paid family and medical leave programs help workers with caregiving responsibilities and serious health needs remain in the workforce. At the same time, these programs help businesses by cutting down on training costs, while keeping workers attached to the labor force and boosting earnings over time.

“Research shows us that paid family and medical-leave programs are good for families as well as businesses,” said Women’s Bureau Director Latifa Lyles. “Today’s announcement is another critical step toward helping communities nationwide to 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.”

The grants funded by today’s award announcement are as follows:

  • The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Labor and Industry will receive $250,000 to conduct cost-benefit analysis for different paid family-leave models; statistical analysis to determine populations that would benefit from them; feasibility study of state administrative infrastructure for a paid family-leave program; and education, outreach and marketing analysis for implementation purposes. 
  • The Hawaii Department of Human Services will receive $240,000 to conduct economic analysis and eligibility and benefit modeling; feasibility study to determine ways Hawaii could potentially implement a paid family-leave program; polling to gauge public opinion about paid family-leave, benefit design, and messaging; focus groups to gather perspectives that will inform messaging design in educational materials and gather insight for policy development.
  • The Indiana Commission for Women will receive $202,500 to conduct cost-benefit modeling for several locally developed paid family and medical-leave program proposals; polling research to assess public interest in elements of proposed plans; and stakeholder interviews with low-income families, as well as develop educational materials for statewide outreach efforts.
  • The City of Madison, Wisconsin will receive $155,317 to research fiscal and operational impacts of providing a paid-leave policy for all permanent city government employees.
  • The City and County of Denver will receive $126,091 to conduct statistical analysis and financing, eligibility, and benefit modeling to explore and develop a paid family and medical-leave program or other benefit options in adherence with prevailing practices.
  • The Franklin County, Ohio, Board of Commissioners will receive $126,091 to evaluate impact of process changes on individuals; cost/economic impact on individuals and employers/supervisors that implement paid-leave program; and implementation analysis.

The Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees unpaid, job-protected leave for workers to care for their newborn or newly adopted children, their family members with serious health conditions, and their own serious health conditions. 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.

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August 9, 2016
Release Number