We have compiled the most important takeaways for those who were not able to attend our webinar, Take It or “Leave” It: Paid Leave and Your Labor Law Compliance Program. Check them out here!
Also, if you would like to listen to the recorded version of the webinar, you can do so here.
What is paid leave?
Paid Leave allows employees to continue to earn a portion of their pay while they take time away from work to:
- Address a health condition
- Care for a family member with a serious health condition
- Care for a newborn, newly-adopted or newly-placed foster child
Two Types of Paid Leave
Paid Sick Leave
- Paid leave earned over time
- Covers short-term illness/injury and preventative healthcare
- Can be used to care for oneself or immediate family members
Paid Family and Medical Leave
- Paid leave to care for an ill relative
- Includes maternity/paternity leave
- Meant for long-term illnesses or injuries
A Timeline of Paid Leave in the United States
Paid leave begins in 1910 with President William Taft, who originally proposed each American employee needed two to three months of vacation to continue working with energy and effectiveness. This was the beginning of paid time-off; however, this proposal never passed.
In 1930, a time when workers’ rights were at the forefront, the U.S. Department of Labor took another look at paid leave, as more than 30 countries had adopted paid leave already – offering an average of seven weeks.
It wasn’t until 1993 when Congress passed the Family Medical Leave Act – or FMLA, which guarantees employees at least 12 weeks of unpaid time off to deal with medical issues for themselves or immediate family members.
Paid Leave: Now
Americans Want Paid Leave. *
Most Americans support paid medical and family leave, according to a 2017 Pew Research Center Study: *
- 85% support paid leave to care for themselves
- 67% support paid leave to care for an ill family member who is seriously ill.
- 82% of respondents support paid maternity leave, while 69% support paid paternity leave
- Across income groups, 72% of those who wanted or needed time off but didn’t take it said they couldn’t afford to lose wages or salary
Paid Leave at the Federal Level
Other than FMLA, there haven’t been any successful efforts to mandate paid time off at the federal level. Currently, the U.S. is the only developed country in the world that doesn’t guarantee time off for parents and other caregivers at the federal level.
Paid Leave at the Local Levels
There has been an increase in paid leave laws at the state, county and city levels because:
- Lower level jurisdictions can pass and update laws at a faster pace
- There is inaction at the federal level
By the numbers:
- 9 states have paid sick leave laws
- 6 states have paid family and medical leave laws
- 27 cities have paid sick leave laws
- 2 counties have paid sick leave laws
Here’s what you should consider when tracking paid leave laws:
- What paid leave laws affect your locations?
- Type of leave: Paid sick leave or paid family and medical leave?
- Number of employees required to offer paid leave?
- Length of time: When does leave begin, how much does the employee earn, what are the caps?
- Who’s covered: The employee, types of family members?
- Funding: Is it employee, employer or joint-paid? Or, is it funded through taxes?
Webinar Polling Questions Results:
How do you track paid sick leave laws today?
- Alerts: 51.37%
- Spreadsheets: 24.04%
- Third-party service: 33.33%
- Legal Counsel: 21.86%
- Other: 15.85%
In your opinion, what is the most challenging and/or complex part of paid leave today?
- Finding and tracking paid leave laws: 44.38%
- Applying the laws: 40.24%
- Understanding or being aware of existing laws: 50.89%
- Other: 6.51%