More States Consider Family Leave Laws, But Barriers Remain
By Teresa Wiltz
Early this year, in his State of the State address, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo got personal: He confessed that he “kicked” himself every day for not spending more time with his father when he was on his deathbed. And then Cuomo made his pitch: “We should have a paid leave program.”
The program, which will be funded through employee payroll tax deductions, provides workers with 12 weeks of paid time to care for an infant, a newly adopted child or a family member who is seriously ill.
That’s at least double the time offered in other states with paid family leave laws. The New York program, which will be phased in over four years beginning in 2018, can also be used by military families facing deployment.
The U.S. is the only industrialized country without a national paid family leave program. Advocates say that although paid family leave laws apply to both men and women, they are particularly beneficial to women, who are most likely to bear the responsibility for providing care.
With paid family leave, women are more likely to remain in the workforce and thus less likely to resort to public assistance and food stamps. [Read more…]