Congressional Research Service Publishes Report on Paid Family Leave

On March 20, 2018, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released its 2018 U.S. paid family leave report, giving an overview of paid family leave in the United States — including employer-sponsored paid family leave and state-run paid family leave insurance programs. It also compares paid family leave policies in other advanced-economy countries and addresses recent legislative activity as it relates to federal paid family leave.

As a reminder, FMLA provides workers with an entitlement of up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for their own serious health condition, to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent — but not a parent "in-law") with a serious health condition, or following birth/adoption/placement for foster care, but no federal law currently provides workers entitlement to paid leave of any kind.

The report discusses state mandated paid family leave for eligible employees engaged in certain caregiving activities, including California, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Washington State and the District of Columbia, and highlights recent federal legislation which allows employers to receive tax credits for a portion of wages paid to employees out on FMLA.

The report also illustrates trends in voluntary employer-provided paid family leave within the U.S. private sector. Not surprisingly, the statistics show that employer-provided paid leave is more prevalent among professional and technical occupations and industries, high-paying positions, full-time employees, and employees working for large companies. It also indicates, however, that there may be a shift in company-provided family leave due to recent company announcements emphasizing paid parental leave and more expansive uses of family leave.

While no mandated federal paid leave legislation has been enacted as of yet, employers should be aware of state law and city ordinances mandating paid leave for certain caregiving situations. Therefore, employers wishing to keep abreast of paid leave mandates and trends may find this report useful.

CRS Report »