State Paid Family & Medical Leave
About Paid Family Leave
The nation’s federal program for family and medical leave protection, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), requires employers with 50 or more employees to offer unpaid time off for family and medical leave. But FMLA does not require employers to provide paid leave. Also, it only covers about 60 percent of the workforce, due to its strict limitations.
The first version of FMLA was introduced to Congress in 1984 and went through various iterations until finally it was signed into law in 1993. Despite multiple attempts in ensuing years, FMLA benefits have not expanded to the extent that many would hope.
Instead, the cause has been taken up on the state level. Currently, nine states and the District of Columbia have state-mandated paid family leave (PFL) programs. Also, municipalities are championing their own PFL programs, like San Francisco, Kings County in Washington, Austin, and Kansis City.
All state programs require employers to provide a specific amount of paid leave benefits (up to a certain percentage of weekly wages) for new parents to bond with their child or care for a family member with a serious medical condition.
In addition, state programs have varying degrees of additional benefits, such as job protection, paid leave for those who need to assist loved ones being deployed with the military, and protection for COVID-19 related quarantine.
Some states require that their PFL programs be entirely employee-paid, while other states allow the costs to be shared between the employer and employee, or even paid completely by the employer.
In some states, when state PFL is combined with FMLA and state disability programs, eligible employees can experience up to 52 weeks (within a 12-month period) of paid leave.