Paid Family and Medical Leave: Most people need to get away from their jobs temporarily at some point to recover from a health problem, have a child, or care for a loved one. But many people in the US can’t take this time without risking their employment and financial security. The good news is things are looking up as more employers are embracing these policies. Below are vital things to know about paid family and medical leave in the United States.
Be sure to talk to a medical leave retaliation attorney if you’ve taken paid or unpaid leave and lost your job – you have legal rights.
Most People Don’t Have Paid Family And Medical Leave
Few Americans enjoy paid time from work for severe family and medical problems. It’s estimated that only 13% of private employees in the US have paid family leave through their companies. Just 40% can access personal medical leave through their company’s temporary disability benefits.
Only 50% of new moms take paid time from their work to care for their baby, and only 9% of private companies have paid paternity leave.
While there have been news reports touting some companies providing more paid leave. Data suggests that most employers across the country haven’t changed their paid family, maternity, and paternity leave policies significantly.
More Companies Are Offering New Paid Leave For Workers
More large companies are offering paid leave for childcare, medical emergencies, and more. A recent Small Business Majority poll of small businesses found that 70% stated they approved of a national insurance program that is paid for with worker and company payroll contributions.
Business owners across the country seem to know that it’s logical to take better care of their workers. For businesses under 100 employees, a paid family and medical leave program could even the playing field with major corporations and provide better worker retention.
Most Businesses Can Afford Paid Leave
Some opponents of paid family leave argue that mandating the policy could make companies lay off workers or close. However, more companies understand that offering paid family leave helps their profitability. More evidence suggests the programs pay for themselves over time.
According to studies of family leave programs enacted by companies in Rhode Island, New Jersey, and California, workers and companies benefit when employees can take a break from work to handle medical and family needs.
Businesses On The Hook For Employee Absences Today
Some argue that companies will have to pay too much if employees have paid medical and family leave. But businesses now already have to pay for workers who don’t show up for work or must quit to handle family and medical issues. The balance sheets for these firms don’t include these costs.
Direct turnover expenses include employee separation, paying more unemployment insurance, interviewing, hiring, and training new workers.
Also, most paid leave programs don’t put the entire cost on the companies. Instead, public funds are used from payroll deductions from workers, companies, and both. More employers are in favor of this approach and so do many small businesses.
Employees Don’t Abuse Paid Family Leave
Data from New Jersey, Rhode Island, and California indicate that paid leave abuse is rare and mostly unfounded. More than 90% of California companies polled said they didn’t know of any program abuse. Most of the alleged abuse involved only a handful of instances where it happened. Data from New Jersey didn’t show any paid medical and family leave abuse.
Employees Favor Paid Leave For Other Workers
Opponents claim many people dislike family leave because they will have to work harder when coworkers leave temporarily. But data suggests that workers want paid time off for their co-workers and themselves. Data from New Jersey shows that most workers don’t resent people who take paid medical or family leave.
Hopefully, more companies will enact paid medical, and family leave policies, as its many benefits for everyone are more understood.