As reported by Governing, advocates of paid family medical leave consider this year to be key for establishing paid family leave laws in State legislatures across the US. As described,
Shifting views about work-life balance, particularly powered by the millennial generation, have softened the political stigma that pigeonholed paid family leave as a women’s issue. Data from existing paid family leave programs are fortifying arguments that such programs are not harmful to business. The other big barrier to adopting paid family leave — how to pay for it — could also be weakening as the federal government offers states grant money to study ways to create and fund programs.
Without paid family leave, some working mothers cannot afford to take unpaid leave to care for infant children who are born prematurely, or to care for other family members who experience extended illnesses. The Federal Family Medical Leave Act mandates the provision of unpaid leave, however, as described by Governing,
It only applies to businesses with more than 50 employees and to workers who’ve been at their jobs for at least a year, which means the law excludes two-fifths of the workforce. Among those who are eligible, fewer than 1 in 5 use FMLA, according to a recent survey by Family Values @ Work, a multistate consortium pushing for paid leave.
Maryland counties generally provide paid family medical leave to employees who work more than 20 or 30 hours per week.
For more information, read the whole story from Governing.
For information on paid sick leave debates in Maryland’s General Assembly, see our previous post on Conduit Street, Sick Leave Bill Will Wait For Next Year, Assembly Works on Minimum Wage, Leaves Sick Leave for Later.