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Washington, DC—On the 25th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) released new estimates showing that implementing the proposed Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act) would cost less than half of one percent of taxable payroll, while extending access to the economic, health, and social benefits of paid leave to millions of Americans.
Since its signing on February 5, 1993, FMLA has been used millions of times by eligible workers to take up to 12 weeks of job protected, but unpaid, leave for their own serious health conditions, having a new child, or caring for seriously ill family members. Yet, FMLA eligibility criteria still leave about 40 percent of the workforce without any legal protections when they need to take leave.
Economist and IWPR President Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., who has studied the impact of family and medical leave for 30 years, released the following statement on the findings:
“Over the last 25 years, a significant body of research has shown time and time again that paid leave improves the health of mothers and children, reduces employee turnover, and strengthens the economy. Proposals like the FAMILY Act would give Americans a lot of bang for the buck, providing vital benefits to those need them at an affordable cost. It’s not clear that other plans, such as those proposed by the Trump Administration and others, to provide paid leave through tax credits would accomplish as much.”
IWPR’s analysis is based on estimates from its paid leave simulation model, the only economic model that relies on the best available data on who takes leave and for how long. The model has been developed across 20 years by economists at IWPR, University of Massachusetts-Boston, and Northeastern University, and is the only model developed specifically to estimate the cost of implementing paid leave. Estimates from IWPR’s model have been used to inform policymakers in Rhode Island, Hawaii, Maryland, and many others.
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that conducts and communicates research to inspire public dialogue, shape policy, and improve the lives and opportunities of women of diverse backgrounds, circumstances, and experiences.