“We commend the Obama administration for making $1 million available through the U.S. Department of Labor to fund research and analyze how paid family and medical leave programs can be implemented or expanded in more jurisdictions. This is one more example of the administration’s unwavering and very welcome commitment to increasing access to paid family and medical leave across this country. These new federal grants will help foster strong state- and local-level paid leave programs that will, in turn, advance a more prosperous and family friendly America.
The grants announced today build on the $1.55 million in Labor Department grants awarded last year for states, municipalities and Indian tribes to use to research and analyze how to develop and implement paid leave programs. This funding can make a significant difference. States are innovators on paid family and medical leave, and are proving every day that it strengthens families, communities, businesses and our economy.
We see unprecedented momentum as more and more companies adopt or expand their paid leave programs. But still, today, just 13 percent of U.S. workers have access to paid family leave through their employers and only California, New Jersey and Rhode Island have paid family leave programs in place. New York has adopted a paid leave program that will be phased in beginning in 2018, and lawmakers in California just expanded that state’s paid leave program.
Despite the progress, there is no question that the country is suffering without a national paid leave program. We urge leaders in Congress to pass the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act this year, so all workers will have access to paid family and medical leave, no matter where they live or what job they hold. We must not remain a nation of haves and have nots on paid leave.”